Secondary Scoring Supports Flyers
Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Philadelphia Flyers witnessed something they hadn’t seen all season.
It had nothing to do with rookies scoring the only goals in what ultimately ended as a 2-1 Flyers win. It also had nothing to do with Sergei Bobrovsky’s stellar performance in net.
Tuesday marked the first time all season that star forward Claude Giroux went pointless for three consecutive games.
After leading the league in total points for a majority of the season, Giroux now sits in second place tied with Toronto’s Phil Kessel with 48 and trails Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin for the lead by two points.
Giroux currently has 18 goals and 30 assists.
In addition, it was the first time that his line mates, Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr went scoreless in consecutive games (three and counting). Prior to the line being held scoreless in the second game of a home-and-home with the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, the line had scored at least one goal in at least every other game this season.
In total, the line has produced 116 combined points and has tallied 48 goals (which makes up roughly 35% of the team’s total offense).
With that much production coming from the team’s top grouping, many were concerned that the other units were not producing enough scoring.
This way of thinking was not without merit.
Daniel Briere and James van Riemsdyk, two players that were expected to be big contributors this season, had largely gone unnoticed. Considering that the Flyers are largely composed of rookies, it seemed legitimate to be concerned about what would happen if the first line dried up.
To this point, that hasn't been a concern.
Since December 29th, the team has scored a total of 20 goals, only three of which was scored by members of the first line (all three scored one goal). Three of the goals came from a defensemen and the other 14 have come from forwards who are not on the first line.
Briere added three goals to that total in one game against the Senators and van Riemsdyk added another two in his stellar performance against the Blackhawks.
Probably the most promising part of the scoring has been the contribution from the team’s rookies.
Of the 20 goals, eight have been scored by rookies, including two goals a piece from Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier. In addition, Matt Read has tallied three points in his last five games and Harry Zolnierczyk has registered two points in his last three.
With so much emphasis placed on the production of the first line, it often gets lost at how talented the Flyers subsequent lines are. Although the first line will most likely continue to be the team’s most productive line, it doesn’t mean that the other lines won’t sprinkle in production when needed.
Considering how long the NHL season is, the Flyers forward depth will undoubtedly be a key component to the team’s future success (whether it be in production or in a possible trade for a defensemen).
However, it is silly to think that this team could go on any kind of run without the first line (Giroux in particular) playing a major role in the team’s game plan.
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