Shootout Struggles Continue For Flyers As They Face The Red Hot Predators
Splitting the decision in their last two games in over time shootouts, the Philadelphia Flyers (29-14-6) will look for a better outcome in tonight's matchup against theNashville Predators (31-16-4).
It is well known that the Flyers struggle when it comes to the shootout. It has been that way ever since the league decided to implement this circus act to avoid ties in the 2005-2006 season.
Although the coaches and teams have changed, the result remains the same.
Since the implementation of the shootout the Flyers are 20-38 and have managed to beat the opposing goaltender 53 times while surrendering 79.
Tuesday night was the same old story, but this time Ilya Bryzgalov was not the problem; this time the Flyers forwards could not solve Ondrej Pavelec going 0-3 in their three attempts.
Peter Laviolette sent the best talent he had available to him, which included Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, and Jaromir Jagr, who took his first shootout attempt as a Philadelphia Flyer.
Wondering why Jagr has not been selected as a shooter in earlier shootouts? Before last night's attempt Jagr had a 22% success rate, worst on the team and with the unsuccessful attempt Tuesday night, he is now 5-23 in his career.
Some have questioned if the Flyers have spent enough time in practice this season on shootout type drills. Like all businesses there are always areas in need of improvement, and when you have multiple areas to improve upon you have to prioritize that list.
For the Flyers they have seen the shootout just five times this season (1-4), three of them coming in their last three games, Boston (L), Florida (W), and Winnipeg (L) respectively.
With the Flyers having to work on areas such as the power play, penalty kill, line combinations, fore-checking schemes and travel the Flyers had no time to work shootout drills into their practices.
With these three recent shootout games you can rest assured that Peter Laviolette will work shootout drills up his list of priorities.
The Predators enter tonight's game as the hottest team in the NHL, compiling an 11-2 record for the month of January. They also will be sporting a hot goaltender in Pekka Rinne; he has not lost a game since January 5th and is looking for his 11th consecutive win.
Nashville is currently on a five game winning streak.
More alarming to the Flyers is the fact that Nashville outscored their opponents 14-6 during that span.
The Flyers on the other hand are 6-3-2 in their last eleven and have struggled to find scoring consistency when at even strength.
Seven of their last eleven goals have come with the man advantage and in their last five games the Flyers have found the back of the net just 13 times.
The teams are separated by just two points in the standings (Nashville 66 pts, Flyers 64 pts).
Since December 27th no team has had a better record than the Predators (13-2-0).
For the Flyers to have a chance tonight Claude Giroux will have to fight through his 13 game goal slump along with Jaromir Jagr and his nine game drought.
More importantly the Flyers as a team will have to solve Pekka Rinne early if they want to have any kind of a realistic chance.
They need Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, and Tom Sestito to cause havoc down low and clean up the trash.
They need to make finishing this game in regulation a priority as Pekke Rinne has stopped the last 11 shootout attempts on him.
Step Up Players
Be sure to follow TCL Flyers on twitter (@TCLFlyers).