5 Most Telling Statistics from Philadelphia Flyers' 2013 Season
With just three regular-season games remaining and the Philadelphia Flyers officially eliminated from playoff contention, it's time to reflect on what proved to be an utterly forgettable season for the Orange and Black.
The Flyers will miss the postseason for just the second time in the last 20 years but won't finish low enough in the NHL standings to win the Seth Jones/Nathan McKinnon sweepstakes.
A season (albeit a shortened one) filled with so much promise will end with a whimper for Philadelphia this Saturday in Ottawa.
With that, here are the five most telling statistics from the Flyers' 2013 season.
As in the number of times the Flyers won more than two consecutive games this season.
In the abbreviated 48-game format, every game, every week, every stretch was magnified. Six times this season Philadelphia won back-to-back games, yet the Flyers were only able to expand upon those modest two-game winning streaks once this year.
During a six-day stretch from late March to early April, the Flyers won four straight contests and appeared primed for a postseason push. But that surge was immediately followed by a four-game losing skid, which all but sealed Philadelphia's fate.
That four-game losing stretch was one of two such instances during the 2013 campaign for the Orange and Black and one of five stretches of at least three consecutive defeats during the shortened season.
In short, Philly was just never able to find any rhythm and momentum this year. Inconsistency plagued the Flyers, and every time the club took one or two steps forward it promptly took two or three back.
Good teams (i.e. playoff teams) find ways of extending winning streaks or quickly snapping losing runs. Philadelphia wasn't able to do either this season, which is why the Flyers won't be playing beyond this weekend.
As in the Flyers' record within the Atlantic Division.
With the shortened 48-game season came enhanced inter-divisional play and a schedule that exclusively featured conference opponents.
By the time the season ends this weekend, the Flyers will have played 18 games against fellow Atlantic Division opponents (they host the New York Islanders this Thursday), and they have won just five of those outings to date.
Of a possible 34 standings points available in divisional play so far, Philadelphia has claimed just 12, which stands as the single biggest contributing factor as to why the Flyers are currently last in the Atlantic and mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.
The warning signs for this were there from the start when Philly dropped contests to the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils within the first four days of the new campaign. The Flyers currently do not have a winning record against a single divisional opponent and won back-to-back games within the Atlantic just once this year.
The stretch that ultimately doomed the Orange and Black came March 5 to April 9, when the team dropped seven of eight games within the division.
The importance of divisional games cannot be overstated. A regulation decision is effectively a four standings point-swing. Unfortunately for the Flyers, they've been on the wrong side of those swings far too often this season.
As in the number of goals scored this season by names other than Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux and Matt Read.
The four skaters above represent the only double-digit goal producers for Philadelphia this season, as that foursome accounted for 46.8 percent of the team's total goal production.
A team's best players need to be their best players, but an embarrassment of riches up front simply didn't materialize for the Flyers this year as 19 other skaters accounted for the remaining 66 goals scored by Philadelphia this season.
Scott Hartnell, who paced the Flyers with 37 goals last season, has managed just seven in an injury-shortened 29 games this year.
Like Hartnell, Danny Briere has missed significant time due to injuries this season (14 games to be exact) but has amassed just five goals when healthy.
Meanwhile, up-and-coming stars Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier have recorded just eight and four goals, respectively, this season. Max Talbot, fresh off a career-high 19 goals a year ago, managed just five conversions this season and was held without a goal through the first 21 games.
As noted above, injuries have certainly impacted the Flyers as a lack of bodies led to constant line juggling and little to no offensive synergy. Still, Philadelphia lacked that consistent secondary scoring to supplement its high-end offensive stars.
As in the number of games lost due to injuries this season for Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossmann and Andrej Meszaros.
The biggest question mark surrounding the Flyers heading into this season was the team's defensive corps. Philly lost out on prized free agent defenseman Ryan Suter over the summer and then failed to land Shea Weber despite a massive offer sheet.
The Flyers were able to swing a trade for Luke Schenn, but added only Bruno Gervais via free agency thereafter to augment a suspect defensive group.
Schenn has proven to be a horse on the back-end and Gervais has filled in respectably at times, but the loss of Coburn, Grossmann and Meszaros for a large chunk of the season (and all three in the pivotal month of March) has simply been too much for the Flyers to overcome.
As a result, Philly has been forced to assign far too much ice time to secondary defensive options.
Gervais, a depth defenseman at best, has already played in 37 games this season, while youngsters like Oliver Lauridsen and Brandon Manning have been forced into action sooner than expected.
The injuries also pushed the Flyers to try and augment their blue line via trades and mid-season signings, as Philly garnered Kent Huskins from the Detroit Red Wings and signed the unemployed Kurtis Foster shortly after the lockout ended.
An anticipated area of concern became a glaring weakness for Philadelphia and is one of the biggest reasons why the Flyers' offseason will begin far sooner than the team would have hoped.
As in the number of losses, be it in regulation, overtime or a shootout, this season by Flyers' goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov is by no means the sole reason the Flyers aren't headed to the playoffs. The 32-year-old netminder was fine this season. He produced an 18-17-3 overall mark to go along with a 2.84 goals-against average and .898 save percentage.
But more often than not "fine" doesn't win hockey games, and it certainly doesn't lead to a postseason berth.
Bryzgalov was altogether completely and utterly average this season. His 18 victories were tied for ninth among all goaltenders, while his goals-against average was 35th and his save percentage 40th overall.
The enigmatic netminder isn't the lone reason Philadelphia is not playoff-bound, but he's also not a reason the Flyers found a way into the postseason.
It wouldn't be a season of Philadelphia Flyers hockey without controversy in the cage. The truth is, there shouldn't even be any controversy.
It's clear now that Bryzgalov isn't the answer in goal for Philadelphia. His active personality makes headlines for all the wrong reasons while his completely average performance on the ice isn't the difference-making presence the Flyers so desperately crave.
It remains to be seen whether Steve Mason, who was acquired at the trade deadline and has since inked a one-year extension for next season, is the answer but it's clear Bryzgalov is not.
Per the new collective bargaining agreement, Philadelphia must amnesty Bryzgalov and the remaining seven years on his hefty contract this summer.
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