Habits Aplenty, Every Shorthanded Goal Against the Flyers >

by Michael DeNicola

Friday, January 31, 2014 --

After last night's 5 - 3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, the Flyers are now sole owners of the NHL's most shorthanded goals allowed this season. That quantity currently stands at nine. This morning Broad Street Hockey pointed out that our franchise record is sixteen, a total recorded back in the 1991-92 campaign. Lucky for us, the 2013-14 Philadelphia Flyers are only on pace to allow thirteen shorthanded goals against.

Nevertheless, this is not a column we want to occupy the top of. And with that, I have gone back through our schedule and plucked the highlight of each lamp we allowed to be lit while we were on the man-advantage. Why? Because I hate myself. 


10/26, Flyers 5 - 2 Isles

SHG - Frans Nielsen (7) Backhand shot - ASST: Peter Regin (3)

Play was broken up in NY's slot, possession was turned over and turned up ice. Mark Streit was our only contesting Flyer against a NYI oddman rush. Our boys were up 3 - 1 before Nielsen made it a one-goal game. Had a chance to break the score wide open, but instead allowed it to be closer than it had to be. Note: Giroux hustled from the left circle all the way up ice, but couldn't connect with the rush. That may be the last time we saw effort like that from him in these circumstances.

11/27, Flyers 2 - 4 Lightning

SHG - Ondrej Palat (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Victor Hedman (9), Andrej Sustr (6)

The puck went back to Timonen at the point where he tried a one-timer. His attempt got blocked and turned over. Tampa's rush was only contested by Kimmo who received zero help from Giroux and Voracek on the backcheck. Giroux watched Palat as he hustled his ass off for a second-chance SHG. The Flyers had an opportunity to tie the game at 1 - 1 on that PP, instead they put themselves in a 2 - 0 hole.

12/7, Flyers 1 - 5 Stars

SHG - Cody Eakin (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Antoine Roussel (6)

Instead of Streit getting the puck deep into Dallas' zone with Voracek, Simmonds and Hartnell waiting to give chase from the blueline, he passes it backward to Giroux who fumbles possession and turns it over to Roussel. Vorecek quits striding as he skates into our zone, so Roussel pitched it to a wide open Eakin for the SHG. The score was 4 - 1, Dallas, prior to this goal.... so we were simply self-applying more astroglide to our backside.

12/11, Flyers 2 - 7 Chicago

SHG - Michal Handzus (3) Tip-in - ASST: Marcus Kruger (11)

Hartnell's winding pass proves to be uncontrollable at the point as Voracek allows the puck to squirt by him. Possession was turned over and brought up ice. Timonen actually did what he had to do; he picked up Kruger while Handzus brought the puck into our zone. After compiling himself once he turned over the puck, Voracek did an insanely lousy job at backchecking Handzus the whole way South. The Flyers were down 2 - 1 prior to the SHG; they had a chance to tie it up, instead they relinquished any momentum and got absolutely destroyed by the Hawks throughout the rest of the contest. It was a massacre.

12/19, CBJ 4 - 5 Flyers

SHG - Cam Atkinson (10) Wrist shot - ASST: Ryan Murray (5)

Another failed keep-in by Voracek, who was pressured by a tight-checking Cam Atkinson. Coburn did a solid job anticipating the turnover (which says something about his confidence in Jake's point protection), and even though he was the only Flyer contesting the oddman rush, he should have picked up Umberger and allowed his goalie to focus on Atkinson. This SHG opened the game's scoring, 1 - 0 Jackets.

1/7, Flyers 3 - 2 Devils (OT)

SHG - Michael Ryder (14) Snap shot - ASST: Marek Zidlicky (16), Andy Greene (15)

This is a rare situation; the Flyers were up 2 - 1 in the winding seconds of the game. We're on the power play, but NJ pulls their goalie to make it an even 5v5 in our end. Per usual, the Devils do an outstanding job pinning us in. The puck got centered and put away. Shit happens. But it is worthy to add that this SHG sent us into OT and gained NJ a point in the standings; considering the Divisional/Conference race, every point matters.

1/8, Habs 1 - 3 Flyers

SHG - Tomas Plekanec (14) Snap shot - ASST: Brian Gionta (16)

Breakouts aren't our specialty. In fact, we suck at them. We suck so much that even when we managed to push the puck into the neutral zone, our lanes are so overcome with forecheckers that there's a potential oddman chance against us around every pass. This was no different; Streit's tape pass fell short enough that it disrupted Downie's forward progression. Downie reaches back and loses his footing.... oh, and the puck. Gionta and Plekanec turn the play on our net with ease. Streit was unable to get back quick enough to neutralize Plekanec,  and Gionta was given too much space to work with by a loosely contesting Couturier. 

Considering Gionta's size compared to Couturier, that's Coots' goof big time. The score was 3 - 0 prior to that SHG, and instead of blowing the doors off Montreal's bench, we gave them a chance to get back into the game.

Sorta unrelated; in his eight year career, Steve Downie has 28-points on the power play. I really don't care if our scoring options are slim, I'd sooner place Lt. Dan on a PP unit than keep Downie out there. Not that he gets a lot of time with ours anyhow, I'm just saying he's a last resort. Dead last.

1/18, Isles 4 - 6 Flyers

SHG - Cal Clutterbuck (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Frans Nielsen (22), Brian Strait (5)

It's not so bad that a rebound came out of NY's crease quick enough to get behind Voracek, but it's enraging to witness Jake get beat to the puck by Frans Nielsen -- who was a full two or three stride-lengths behind Jake when both players headed for the puck towards the blueline. If that wasn't bad enough, Hartnell got caught watching the play like a tourist while Clutterbuck slithered down our slot virtually uncontested. Hartnell's ineffective backchecking allowed 'Buck to tally a shorty. Prior to the SHG, the Flyers had a chance to equalize the scoreboard, 1 - 1, but instead dug themselves into a 2 - 0 hole.   

1/30, Flyers 3 - Ducks 5

SHG - Daniel Winnik (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Saku Koivu (12)

Everyone and their mother exploded all over Kimmo Timonen for his attempted pass to Voracek, which was poke-checked in mid transition and turned back up ice. Here's the problem; Timonen (along with every other Flyer who's manned that position on the PP) has made that pass 1,000 times before. In hindsight (no surprise), fans wanted him to put the puck on net instead of trying the pass, but there were three Anaheim skaters forming a line that clogged away any lane Timonen could have had. 

His next option, which was the correct one, was to dish possession to Voracek at the right circle to quickly take advantage at that angle. The turnover was simply a byproduct of a very good team playing a very good penalty kill.

Before Koivu and Winnik even sniffed our blueline, Giroux had either given up on the backcheck or he was completely out of gas. It's a tough call seeing as how he took a shot in Anaheim's zone before the play got turned up ice. But prior to that SHG, it was a one-goal game with over seven minutes remaining in the 3rd. We had put out such a remarkable effort versus the League's best team, and then we go ahead and shut the door on ourselves all over again.

I'm noticing a pattern, here.... and that pattern has a lot to do with our lousy, ineffective, pathetic, and lazy attempts to backcheck on these giveaways-turned-shorthanded goals. We're beating ourselves and letting it happen. What's even worse is, the majority of these SHG against us come at the worst possible times; we're either trying to claw back into a close match, or allowing the opposition to capitalize likewise. 

Being that there is opportunity and positivity in virtually every negative happenstance, the one glimmering surprise is that our record is 5 - 4 - 0 when allowing a SHG. A winning record, but only by a small margin. Two of those losses came at two or less goal games. Who knows, those are four more points unearned because we're busy shoehorning our heads outta our own asses. 

February 28th, 2014 - UPDATE

02/27, Flyers 3 - Sharks 5

SHG - Logan Couture (16) Backhand shot - ASST: Tommy Wingels (19)

Our tenth shorthanded goal-allowed this season, the Flyers returned from the Olympic break only to be bent over the sawhorse by an exploding San Jose Sharks squad. This highlight begins very late in the play's development; we don't see when or where possession was turned over. The play is sort of different from the other nine because our goal-keeper -- Emery in this case -- managed to neutralize and breakup a cross-ice pass through the low slot. Things got interesting once a backchecking Giroux fumbled possession to Emery's flank; Logan Couture steps in, gives the puck a dull swipe, and the rubber lethargically nests in the corner of our twine. 

Seconds prior to Couture's second-chance, you'll notice Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell enter the frame..... neither were in stride. They sorta just watched Streit and Giroux struggle, and ultimately Logan feeds the chickens. 

Prior to this yielded shorty, Philadelphia was tied with Edmonton for the most SHG-against (9). We've obviously regained the crown in that department after Thursday night. 

Welcome back, NHL Hockey! 

March 24th, 2014 - UPDATE

03/22, Flyers 4 - Blues 1

SHG - Jaden Schwartz (22) Snap shot - ASST: Kevin Shattenkirk (32), Vladimir Sobotka (21)

Hey, yea, we won the game. In fact, it was our fifth consecutive victory, and what made the win even better was knowing it came against the NHL's best opponent. But I'd be doing this article a disservice if I didn't include St. Louis' one and only goal of Saturday's skirmish, which, oddly enough, opened up the scoreboard as a shorthanded lamp. 

The play began in the Blues' zone; MacDonald handled possession sloppily along the boards and it was immediately turned over to Shattenkirk. He and his teammate Jaden Schwartz broke away with only a lone Mark Streit contesting them. As they stormed over our blueline, Lecavalier was doing his best to backcheck Schwartz while Streit focused attention on Shattenkirk. Unfortunately, despite his admirable effort, Lecavalier was no match for Jaden's speed; Shattenkirk threaded the rubber through the slot, on the tape of Schwartz who then flicked it past Mason for a 1 - 0 lead.

Luckily for us, Philadelphia banged out four unanswered goals, lifting us over St. Louis, and solidifying our hottest streak of the season (thus far).  

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