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s17- Flyers Penalty Kill Killing Them [WB1]

2021-01-12

Through the first nine games of the 2006-07 VHL Season the Philadelphia Flyers boast a 6-2-1 record. However, they are not satisfied with this result, as 5 of 6 wins have come against teams that missed the playoffs last season, and the six clubs (NJD, OTT, MTL, MIL, SJS, PHX) currently have a combined .267 win percentage this season.

Of the other three matches, the Flyers lost two games, and tied in their most recent game against the Los Angeles Kings. The losses came to two teams that have given Philly fits for years- the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hartford Whalers, both 5-2 defeats.

Dissecting those two miserable performances, there is one area that can be analyzed off-tape, and on the scoresheet: the Flyers penalty kill sucks. On opening night against the Penguins, the first three goals the Penguins scored came at the man advantage. Largely in part to two undisciplined first period penalties by Alexander Ovechkin. The Flyers PK only successfully killed off one penalty, after getting scored on their first three kills.

In loss to Hartford the penalty kill was somehow worse, as they gave up two power play goals to Duncan Keith in the span of 34 seconds, after their top penalty killer, Manny Maholtra, took a double minor for slashing. The Whalers would only need four seconds to convert on their next power play, and would add another in the third period, going four for five (80%) on the night.

Overall, the Flyers penalty kill has been scored on a porous 37-percent of the time, as they sit dead last in the league at 63-percent. 

To remedy this, the Flyers have taken to the free agent market to acquire a former second round selection, and a defenceman who ranks in the top-ten of games played in the Flyers VHL existence, Eric Cairns. After being traded in a package for Claude Lemieux, the Flyers are happy ecstatic to have Cairns back. He will be a key piece of their penalty killing unit moving forward, as coach Randy Carlyle believes part of the struggle has been playing a rookie Marc Methot in such a critical role on the top PK unit.
 

If the Flyers can improve their PK, which should see some positive regression regardless of personal choices, they’ve shown they’re a competitive club at even strength. Also seeing their penalty differential swing the opposite way would be a huge positive, but I don’t see Eric Cairns, the second most penalized player in Flyers VHL history, helping in that area.

 

WC 422