After looking at the penalty kill last week, I wanted to flip that and look at the positive aspect of the Philadelphia Flyers’ special teams: the power play. The Flyers power play has been great as of late, not only this season but in past seasons as well. However, the departure of Scott Hartnell and injury to Kimmo Timonen left question marks for 2 of the 5 positions on the top unit. Fortunately, Brayden Schenn and Mark Streit have filled in quite nicely along with the mainstays of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds.
All charts in this column will have this season's stats in orange, last season's in black.
This season, through 19 games, the Flyers man advantage has done much better than last season’s already good numbers. They have scored on 23.53% of attempts after 19 games, compared to 13.89% last season. So far this season the unit has only been under 20% after 4 games, last season the unit was only over 20% for 2 games. There is no doubt that the power play has been one of the keys to the Flyers’ success this year.
Like with the penalty kill, I looked at the team as a whole, then as pieces. First, I looked at the corsi for attempts per 60 minutes. For those who aren’t familiar with this stat, corsi combines all shots on goal with all missed shots and blocked shots.
As you can see the Flyers are putting nearly 15 more pucks towards the net per 60 minutes. Some of this can be attributed to the new point-man, Mark Streit who is known more for his shooting while Timonen was known for his passing. Moreover, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek have been shooting more from the outside. Last season the Flyers were 7th in this category with just under 104 corsi attempts per 60 minutes. This year the Flyers have jumped up to 2nd in the league with just under 116 corsi attempts per 60 minutes.
Getting pucks at the net is important, and it leads directly to pucks going into the net.
After scoring a very respectable 7.18 goals per 60 minutes last season, the Flyers have even topped that this season with 8.32 goals per 60 minutes. This can be attributed to the breakout year the Jakub Voracek is having along with the hot start of Wayne Simmonds and really the whole top unit.
The Flyers power play all starts at the top, with Mark Streit this year, and Kimmo Timonen last year.
Kimmo Timonen was fantastic at the point last year, and Mark Streit has done his best to fill in for him this season. Timonen scored just over 4 points per 60 minutes last year, and Streit is just behind that at 3.3 points per 60. Streit surprisingly has no power play goals on the year, and just 4 assists. I would fully expect these numbers to remain at this level if not go even higher.
From the point, the puck usually either goes to the net or to one of the players on the outside, in this case Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
Giroux and even moreso Voracek have been a huge reason for the Flyers success thus far. After putting up 7.35 points per 60 on the power play last season, Giroux has improved that number by more than 1, up to 8.42 points per 60. Even more impressive are Voracek's numbers, whose 5.18 points per 60 last season have jumped up nearly 2 whole points, from 5.18 to 7.17. To go along with this, Voracek had a hand in 56% of power play goals scored last season when he was on the ice, this season that has jumped up to 72%. That's right, Voracek has had a point on nearly 3 of every 4 goals scored by the top power play unit.
Its not a usual occurrence to score from the outside without some distractions in front. Wayne Simmonds has done spectacular yet again in his role there, and Brayden Schenn has filled in nicely for Scott Hartnell as mentioned previously.
Wayne Simmonds has become one of the best, if not the best, power play net front presences in the league. After scoring 5.22 points per 60 minutes on the power play last season, he has had a stellar 2014 campaign with nearly 7 points per 60 minutes on the man advantage. Schenn has done respectable as well with nearly identical numbers to Hartnell. Hartnell, who scored 4.44 points per 60, was viewed by the key to the power play by some, but Schenn has beaten him by a nose here, scoring 4.54 points per 60 minutes from the same spot.
It’s really no surprise that Giroux and Voracek are leading the way for the Flyers on the power play. They have done it all this season from even strength domination, to penalty killing by Giroux to becoming one of the most feared duos in the league. While these numbers might seem a bit inflated, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them remain this high for most of the season. The Flyers top unit really is something special and has the potential to carry this team.
Ryan Gilbert is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia and can be found on Twitter @RiskyBryzness