Flyers' power play on rise, but PK is slumping

Flyers' power play on rise, but PK is slumping

Flyers look to build off strong road trip in upcoming homestand

November 18, 2013, 3:00 pm
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The Flyers allowed a pair of power-play goals in their 3-2 shootout loss to the Jets on Friday. (USA Today Images)

When it came to special teams last season, the Flyers were actually pretty good, finishing in the top 10 in both power play and penalty kill.
While the power play has been abysmal much of this current season, it’s on a bit of a “roll” (if you want call it that) with four goals in the Flyers’ last eight opportunities. And the penalty kill has been consistent all season.

Well, it had been.
On Oct. 31, it ranked sixth -- its highest this year. Since then, however, it’s slipped, starting with the 7-0 debacle against Washington in which the Caps scored twice with the man advantage.
More recently, however, the penalty kill has yielded four goals over the last 13 times on the ice -- a dreadfully poor 69.2 killing percentage.
Winnipeg had two power play goals to snap the Flyers' three-game winning streak last weekend. The Flyers' PK has since fallen to 13th.
“I think it’s still been good,” coach Craig Berube said. “The Pittsburgh goal with [Sidney] Crosby there, I think everybody got attracted to the puck on the wall and forgot where Crosby was. He kind of stayed over on the weak side and then went to the net.”
Losing sight of Crosby is like forgetting to notice Godzilla walking down your street. But nevertheless. ...
“The two [power-play] goals in Winnipeg should have been defended,” Berube admitted. “There was a line change, and they shouldn’t have changed. The puck wasn’t in deep enough to change. The other one, I think we have to do a better job of getting a stick on that shot.
“[Adam Hall] was close, but not close enough there. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes on the penalty kill. I think you just stay with the structure and keep doing and keep working because over time, if you’re doing a good job with the structure of your penalty kill -- and you’re doing a good job blocking shots and up ice in the set up and faceoffs and the little things -- the penalty kill will be good at the end of the year.”
When the Flyers' PK is doing well, it’s usually because they are aggressive in attacking the points and half-wall before the opposition gets into its setup.
Matt Read averages more time (2:58 per game) on the PK than any other Flyers forward now that Max Talbot (3:35) is gone.
“That’s part of the point of being the penalty killers -- you want to get pressure, not let them have ice, not let them set up and make plays,” Read said. “You want to keep them to the outside and try to be on them as quick as you can. As soon as there is a fumbled puck, get on them and try to create pressure.”
Read said the bad line change in Winnipeg -- there wasn’t a Flyer anywhere near the puck -- was avoidable.
“A couple tired guys on the ice,” he said. “Just wanted to get off. You’d rather be tired than have no one out there. Bad line change and stuff, you can’t do much about it. Good shot by [Dustin] Byfuglien and [Steve] Mason just didn’t see it. But we want to be aggressive and try to keep the puck on the outside. He made a good play, good shot.
“But I think our power play has been doing well as of late. One little setback can’t take away from the big picture. We’ve been doing good all year and we’ve got to keep focusing on that. Because at the end of the day, that’s going to win games.”