The Flyers offense has been solid all season. The 5 on 5 scoring is over-rated. In many of the games this year, the Flyers powerplay has scored early and they have been playing the attacking defense for most of the game. Even with the losses of Gagne and Briere, the Flyers roles are clearly defined and that is why they are playing so well. I am a huge believer in having clearly defined roles. The lines of Richards, Hartnell, and Giroux along with Carter, JVR, and Labiale (Briere – when he returns) are clearly providing offensive chances when on the ice. The 3rd line of Betts, Lapeierre and Carcillo are excelling in their role of shutting down whoever they are on the ice with – just like the old days with Otto, Podein, and Klatt. They are hard to play against and cycle in the offensive zone. This wears the other defense down. The 4th line of Powe, Asham and Pyorala are again as capable as the 3rd line. Defined roles always produce the best results for any team in any sport. Keep it up Stevens. When Gagne comes back, play him on the 4th line in place of Asham and let him earn back a higher role.
Ray Emery has been BETTER than advertised. He has not been solid, he has been amazing. He has played in all but 1 game this season and you can count the number of soft goals he has allowed without any hands. None! He is playing like a guy that is out to prove that he is a superstar! He battles hard on scrambles, is big enough to not get pushed around, and tall enough to look around the screens in front.
The opponent broadcast teams are all calling the Flyers top 4 on defense the best in the league. They are raving about the minutes that the 4 defenders (Carle, Pronger and Timonen, Coburn) and how they are shutting people down while still providing offense from the back end. They are also raving about the breakout passes from the Flyers defense.
It is about time. With all the scoring talent on the Flyers, that Stevens started using some other players besides the standard Gagne, Carter, Richards in the shootout. Giroux, JVR, Pyorala are shifty. They don’t score goals by just catch and shoot. I would even consider Carle as an early shootout guy.