The Flyers had a good week, winning 5-4 over Vancouver and getting 1 point in a 3-2 OT loss to the LA Kings. That gives them 7 points, good enough for 4th place in the Eastern Conference. Here are my 3 “hot” players for last week:
- Claude Giroux — Giroux moves to the #1 slot this week with 1 goal and 2 assists in 2 games. He continues to look very good on the power play with Jagr, and they have a special chemistry that is hard to describe. They just seem to know where each other are on the ice at all times. The young center leads the team with 5 points and has raised his face-off winning percentage to 51.5.
- Danny Briere — After a slow first couple of games, Briere has started to heat up. He had an assist against the Canucks, setting up Andrej Meszaros for the game winner and also netted the first goal on Saturday night. He leads the team in face-off winning percentage at 51.8 and is a plus-3, tied for the team lead. Briere has acknowledged that he is historically a slow starter, but if he keeps this pace up, it will more than make up for the loss of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
- Chris Pronger — The captain continues to lead by example, notching a goal and 2 assists in two games, all on the power play. He continues to lead the team in ice time with 24:09 per game, and is tied for the team lead in points with Giroux. Pronger continues to be a force on the man advantage, manning the point and distributing the puck to the boards where Jagr and Giroux like to work.
My 3 ”not hot”:
- Max Talbot — Talbot has started off slowly with his new team. He has yet to record a single point in the first 4 games and is a minus-1. His face-off percentage is a lowly 38.6. Max hasn’t been awful and to be fair, he is playing a checking role where offense is not his top priority, but he needs to be better on draws to be effective. If he chips in 8-10 goals and 20-or-so assists this season, I would be happy. His defensive play is really his main concern.
- Flyers Penalty Kill — The PK units haven’t been bad, but there is room for improvement as they are currently 20th in the NHL at 80 percent. It is early and the influx of new players has forced coach Peter Laviolette to use some different people while shorthanded, including the two rookies, Matt Read and Sean Couturier. If they can get to about 85-90%, then they will be a top-10 penalty kill and a strong part of the special teams.
- Face-offs – The Flyers are struggling a bit in the circles, with Talbot and Sean Couturier both under 40 percent and Read, Giroux and Briere are just at or above 50. Talbot and Briere should hit their grooves as the season wears on and hopefully the two rookies will learn some of the tricks necessary to be successful at the NHL level on draws.
That wraps up this week’s 3-on-3. Check in next week to break down the numbers after what will hopefully be another good week for the Orange and Black.