Simmonds and MacDonald are done for the season

The Flyers were hit with two more injuries tonight and it was announced that Andrew MacDonald (upper body) and Wayne Simmonds (lower body) will miss the remainder of the season.

Simmonds will end the season with 28 goals, 2 short of the 30-goal mark which he’s never reached before. Simmonds was hit by a Mark Streit slap-shot in the third period and didn’t return. MacDonald was also hurt in the third period when he blocked a Duncan Keith slap-shot off of his hand.

Earlier today we also found out that Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere was not going to return this season either. The Flyers will now look to call-up a defenseman and a forward for the rest of the season. Expect the return of Brandon Manning and one of Scott Laughton/Jason Akeson/Petr Straka.

Postgame: Kimmo Timonen’s return to Philadelphia

The Flyers defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. Flyers goals scored by Simmonds (28), White (5), Giroux (22), and Raffl (19). Lone Hawks goal from Andrew Shaw (13).

The Flyers came out strong in the first period and outplayed the Blackhawks in multiple categories including shots, shot attempts, hits, face-off wins, and goals, which is a trend we’ve gotten used to seeing against the top teams. Wayne Simmonds got the lone goal of the period after Matt Read stole the puck from Marian Hossa and set up Simmonds for the one-timer. With his first period goal, Simmonds becomes the 32nd player in team history to score 100 goals as a Flyer.

The second period went just as good for the Flyers as they scored twice and the first was right after a face-off win by Ryan White. After White won the draw, he headed to front of the net and redirected Carlo Colaiacovo’s shot past Corey Crawford to put the Flyers up 2-0. To make the period even sweeter, people can finally shut up about Giroux having zero even strength goals at home when he and Voracek combined for a beautiful goal to give the Flyers a 3-goal lead heading into the third period.

The third period didn’t go as smoothly for the Flyers as the Blackhawks ruined Steve Mason’s shutout with a powerplay goal from Andrew Shaw just two minutes into the period, but that would only last about 10 minutes before the Flyers struck again. Going on their second powerplay of the game, Michael Raffl took the puck down the right side of the ice and just beat Crawford with a wrist shot on the short-side. Raffl has yet again showed why he should be used more consistently on the powerplay next season.

Positives:
  • Claude Giroux finally scored an even strength goal so we can all stop talking about that
  • Steve Mason played like… well, Steve Mason. 34 saves and just one goal against
  • Jakub Voracek is now in a 3-way tie for the league lead in points with John Tavares and Sidney Crosby with 74.
Negatives:
  • It appeared Wayne Simmonds got injured in the third period after taking Mark Streit’s shot off his foot. He didn’t have a shift the rest of the period
  • This was the last time we will see Kimmo Timonen play in Philadelphia. Let that sink in…

Next up for the Flyers is the Sharks on Saturday the 28th. With that, we thank Kimmo Timonen for seven great years in Philadelphia, and for the playoffs, go Chicago.

Michael Raffl, underrated and underutilized

Michael Raffl has been moved around the lineup this season and yet is still putting up goals. If the Flyers want to get back into the playoffs next season, consistently using Raffl in a top-6 role is key.

First, let’s start with his last 10 games played;

raffl last 10

Raffl has played over ten minutes in seven of the last ten games, meanwhile he has only seen over ten minutes at even strength in six of these games. The only game where Raffl received ten or more minutes of ice time and didn’t record a point was our 3-2 OT loss to the Bruins. In 4 of these games he was top 3 in forwards for CorsiFor (also called “SAT for”).

forwards, all situations, sorted by points per 60 minutes

forwards, all situations, sorted by points per 60 minutes

Petr Straka had a great 3 games, but let’s look past him to the next 6 players on the list.  First, take a look at ZSO%Rel (fraction of offensive zone vs defensive zone starts, relative). Michael Raffl is getting more defensive starts than anyone except Ryan White, who has played surprisingly well since joining the team in late January. From the above chart, you can also see he is tied with Wayne Simmonds with 1.3 goals per 60 minutes, which is the best on the team. He also has the lowest PDO of that group with 98.1 so if anything, he’s been unlucky this season and should have better numbers. Now let’s take a look at how Raffl scored his 17 goals this season.

raffl chart 2

Raffl’s 12 goals at even strength lead the team, and his goals per 60 minutes is at 1.0 (also the best on the team). Yet somehow, he’s seen barely any powerplay time this season. How does your leading scorer at even strength not get on the powerplay? And once again, his PDO is one of the lowest on the team at even strength.

raffl pdo

forwards, 5v5 even strength, sorted by low to high pdo

Next season we should not see any games where Raffl sees under ten minutes of ice time and should be seeing him used on the powerplay. If both of those things happen, he can become a 30-goal scorer for us which is desperately needed.

Flyers got robbed by the Hamburgler

The Flyers lose 2-1 in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators. Goals scored by Jean-Gabriel Pageau (4) and Jakub Voracek (21).

photo via @Senators Twitter

photo via @Senators

After scoring seven goals yesterday against the tenth best team in the league, the Flyers could only score one goal on Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators. After a silent first period, the Senators took the lead 5:19 into the 2nd period when Jean-Gabriel Pageau swatted a puck out of mid-air on the backhand which gave Emery almost no chance of stopping it. Only a few minutes later, while taking a shift with Bellemare and VandeVelde, Voracek yet again proved that he is dangerous everywhere on the ice by scoring on a slap shot in the high-slot.

After failing to score in the third period and overtime, the Flyers (surprise, surprise) lost in a shootout. Voracek, Simmonds, and Giroux all failed to score for the Flyers while Bobby Ryan scored the lone shootout goal for the Sens.

Michael Raffl

Raffl only saw 9 minutes and 42 seconds of ice time tonight and this is a big problem.

raffl chart

top 5 forwards in goals/60 at 5v5 even strength

Not only does he lead the team in goals per 60 minutes of 5v5 ice time, he’s also the second-best forward for shooting percentage with 11.6%. Consistently using more of Michael Raffl next season could go a long way for the Flyers.

Standings and Stat Leaders
  • With gaining one point in the loss, the Flyers are now 9 points back from the Boston Bruins for the final wild card spot.
  • Jakub Voracek moved back up into 5th in the league in points with 69. He’s already hit a career high in points and needs three more goals to set a career high in goals.

The Flyers will now head to Vancouver where they meet the Canucks on Tuesday for the second and final meeting of the season. The first game was back in January where Ryan Miller shutout the Flyers 4-0.

Flyers steamroll the Red Wings

Flyers score 7 goals vs the Detroit Red Wings, who are the 5th place team in the conference. The Flyers won 7-2 after loosing in a shootout 1-0 to the Blues. Brayden Schenn was robbed of a hat trick had two goals and one assist.

2-0 was shocking. 3-1 was unheard of. BUT 7-2?!?!? WHAT WAS THAT? I was super happy while watching that I had already claimed this game :). Anyways, we should probably talk about the hat trick that never was.

Photo credit: www.nj.com

Photo credit: http://www.nj.com

Brayden Schenn. Either you’ll hear words of praise or words of criticism. People tend to not be in the middle when it comes to him. But today? Holy shoot that was probably his best game as a Flyer to date. Regardless of whether the first goal was Wayne’s or Brayden’s, that goal was great. Then, his second first goal then was marvelous as well. He didn’t stop on the play and scored while falling down. Great pass by Giroux as well. The third second goal came eleven seconds into the final period. He scored off a wide rebound from Voracek and he just nailed it home.

While a majority of the arena knew (based on the number of fallen hats) that the first goal was credited to Simmonds, quite a number of hats still fell onto the ice. While it was upsetting to fans that this player just scored what would be his first hat trick and now they say that even though they more than likely both hit it at the same time (both Schenn and Simmonds have said this), they decide to credit it to the other. It is a fact that they changed the credit during the second intermission, yet the NHL did not announce it until right after the what was thought to be the third goal.

Photo credit: www.nj.com

Photo credit: http://www.nj.com

Players of the game without a doubt are Steve Mason and Brayden Schenn.

Mason had many (as per usual) saves that would keep the game in the Flyers’s favor. One of the saves may end up being the save of the year for the Flyers in my opinion! He was once again stellar, proving himself as the most consistent Flyer this year.

Brayden Schenn was one for all of the right reasons I’ve listed about. He played, with out a doubt, the best game in an orange jersey.

Photo credit: www.nj.com

Photo credit: http://www.nj.com

COUSINS RECALLED:

Nick Cousins was recalled around 10:20 pm on Saturday night. Rumors are that it is to replace RJ Umberger, but after Lecavalier’s play of late, I would expect to see him scratched tomorrow against Ottawa in favor of Cousins. Cousins is currently 5th in the AHL for scoring and has 38 points over the last 29 games played.

Chip Kelly, blowing up the roster

Chip Kelly has been a hot topic ever since becoming the Eagles head coach but over one night he has made himself the biggest story in the NFL. Kelly, who is now the director of player personnel, is pretty much blowing up the old team that he was given and making a team in his own mad scientist vision. Kelly has made a grocery list of moves so far which include trading LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso, cutting Trent Cole, Cary Williams, and Todd Herramans, signing Byron Maxwell, letting Jeremy Maclin walk, re-signing Brandon Graham, and re-signing Mark Sanchez to a new two-year deal.

Then Kelly made the biggest move that Eagles fans could imagine and traded Nick Foles, a 2015 4th round pick, and a 2016 2nd round pick to the St. Louis Rams for QB Sam Bradford and a 2015 5th round pick. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that if Bradford does not play at all the Eagles will get 3rd round and if he plays less than half of his the Eagles will get a 4th round pick.

 

Bradford was the first overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. Bradford is 18-30-1, has a 58.6 completion percentage, threw 59 touchdowns, and 38 interceptions. His stats are pretty average, but Bradford is also very injury prone; he has only played all 16 games twice in his career. Bradford is also coming off a torn ACL from last preseason. This seemingly insane move has obviously made Eagles fans either just slightly angry or completely distrustful of Chip Kelly.What it seems like at first glance is that Kelly is finally putting everything together so that he can acquire the 1st overall pick that will let him draft Marcus Mariota. That’s what it seems like at first, but some people are skeptical with good reason. If Kelly really doesn’t plan on playing Bradford, how is an injured and unproven QB going to be a better bargaining chip to get the 1st pick than Nick Foles? Kelly also gave up a few draft picks that were either rumored to be part of the Mariota deal or would have been useful in getting the 1st overall pick. There is still a chance that Kelly gets Mariota though as most of the fanbase is hoping he will.

 In addition to all this, it has been rumored that the Eagles and the NFL leading rusher DeMarco Murray have mutual interest in making a deal.

 

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Flyers sign forward Danick Martel

The Flyers have announced that they have signed 5’8, 162-lb, undrafted forward Danick Martel. Martel, 20, is currently with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He is 2nd in the QMJHL in both goals (48) and points (102).

photo via journallecourrier.com

photo via journallecourrier.com

Here is one of his highlight goals against Sam Morin’s Rimouski Oceanic earlier this season

You can read the Flyers’ official statement here.