Flyers are missing Briere.
The Philadelphia Flyers are winless through their first three games of this short season, mainly due to their lack of power-play goals and kills.
Here are the power-play (PPG/PPO) stats from the games (h/t ESPN).
Game One vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins - 2/3
Flyers - 0/5
Game Two at Buffalo Sabres
Sabres - 3/6
Flyers - 1/4
Game Three at New Jersey Devils
Devils - 1/7
Flyers - 0/6
Will the Flyers turn their season around?
The above stats place the Flyers at No. 25 overall in power-play percentage and No. 27 in power-play kill and still searching for their first team win.
With 45 games remaining, the team must correct this problem immediately.
One solution is having Danny Briere healthy and leading the power-play lines. Briere has been a longtime specialist on the man advantage, and his absence is crippling the Flyers. He possesses the rare instinct to hide behind the goal, sneak behind defenders and position himself for a rebound goal.
Unfortunately, according to CSNPhilly, Briere is likely out for this weekend's games.
Last season, Jagr posted nice stats on the power play with eight goals and 12 assists (via ESPN). He was a massive body with incredible ice awareness—resulting in laser-accurate passes. Now that Jagr is no longer on the team, the Flyers lack a big-body, forward presence on the ice. Someone will need to step up and replace Jagr.
Another important piece is defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who is key to the Flyers' power-play scoring and kill. He is a master with assists on the man advantage, averaging 17 PPA during his career (via ESPN). He already has an assist this season.
Timonen is also the leader on penalty kills. He and his defensive teammates must help goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and defend the power play more effectively.
Finally, the Flyers need to limit penalties, especially from new captain Claude Giroux. Fans are seeing too many whistles—questionable at times—slowing any momentum the team can muster.
The Philadelphia Flyers are not done and should not panic. As mentioned in a previous article regarding the 94-95 lockout season, the Flyers started off extremely slow but went on to win the Atlantic Division.
There is far too much talent on this team for them to underachieve, but if they do not quickly correct their power-play woes, this will be the longest short season for everyone.