With a modest 10-6-4 record, the Philadelphia Flyers sit in tied for fourth place in the Metropolitan Division. One thing holding the team back is their lack of scoring, far behind teams like the Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes and the injury-riddled Pittsburgh Penguins.
Sam Carchidi of Philly.com suggests that one of the biggest problem is the lack of production from some of their top-six players, including Kevin Hayes, James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek. It’s been even worse in the last 10 games, even though Philadelphia has gone 5-2-3 in that span. Regardless, Philadelphia has scored just 25 goals, for an average of just 2.5 goals per game in their last 10.
Hayes, who signed a seven-year, $50MM deal this offseason, has score zero goals and is minus-eight in his last 10 games. Van Riemsdyk has just one goal in his last 11 games, while Voracek also has failed to score in his last 10 games.
“We’re working on getting better as a group,” head coach Alain Vigneault said. “We’re not where I think we can get to, but we are working extremely hard and we’ve got a lot of faith that we’ll be able to get there.”
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Matt Vensel reports that Pittsburgh Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist participated at practice for the first time since he suffered his lower-body injury on Nov. 2. The 32-year-old worked on his own before the Penguins practiced and wore a gray, non-contact jersey during the light practice. With the practiced focused mainly on the power play, Hornqvist did not participate in those drills. “He’s making significant progress. Obviously, the fact that he joined the team in a non-contact jersey is an indication of that,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “With the limited time I had an opportunity to watch him … I thought he looked pretty good.”
- The Athletic’s Josh Yohe (subscription required) wonders if the Penguins should consider moving fourth-line forward Brandon Tanev up in the lineup permanently. The team’s free-agent acquisition was moved up in the lineup recently due to the Penguins’ rash of injuries and has played well. His performance Saturday against Toronto was impressive two as the 27-year-old had two assists, four hits and a plus-two and made a positive impact.
- NHL.com’s Jeff Svoboda notes that while Joonas Korpisalo has received the majority of appearances for the Columbus Blue Jackets in net, that may change. Backup Elvis Merzlikins may be seeing more time soon. Their stats lately have been almost identical. Korpisalo in his last five games has a 2.40 GAA and a .919 save percentage, while backup Merzlikins has a 2.45 GAA and a .919 save percentage. “Elvis is improving,” head coach John Tortorella said. “That comes into some decision making for me as we go through here because I have to monitor everything with those two guys because of just the situation we’re in. We’ll see where it goes.”