The Montreal Canadiens came to the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday night and received an unsuspecting surprise from the Flyers’ power play.
Philadelphia has struggled all season with a consistent man advantage, and finally against Montreal they saw some results, going 3-for-5 on their way to a 5-2 victory.
The last time they had that kind of success on the man advantage occurred on October 26, in a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. That’s nearly three months and 41 games ago. Going into Tuesday night’s game, the Flyers power play had gone only 31-for-187, giving them a 16.6% efficiency, which is tied for 20th in the league.
This is the first place Flyers who lead the NHL in goals for (168) and goals per game (3.43). But they’ve had to do it all at even strength, where they’ve scored 1.45 goals per one goal allowed at 5-on-5.
“The power play was good, and we’ve been working on it,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. “It gets frustrating at times I think the power play is one of those temperamental parts of the game. It’s really hot sometimes and at other times it’s not. But I feel like we get great instruction from the coaches and Joe Mullen.
“I feel like we’ve got the right players on the ice. It’s just a matter of time before we start scoring goals again.”
The man advantage has been a problem all season for the Flyers. Only eight games so far have seen the Flyers score more than a single goal on the power play.
“I think just moving our feet, moving the puck quicker,” said Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who had two assists — both coming with the mad advantage. “[We're] not standing there with it, thinking. And then getting traffic in front of them.”
Two of the Flyers’ goals were scored in back to back 5-on-3 situations, which obviously proved to be the turning point. In many cases, if the short handed team can shut the door and prevent the power play from scoring it can boost the morale on the bench and change the tide of a game. Transversely, a team scoring on the 5-on-3 can bury their opposition.
“Five-on-threes, you know they usually dictate the game,” said Flyers forward Danny Briere, who scored on an empty netter late in the third period.
“You can’t miss on those opportunities. When you have those chances, 5-on-3, you can’t miss. Usually they come back to hurt you if you don’t score.”
When they don’t score on the power play the Flyers have a record of 11-10-4. When they capitalize on the man advantage, however, the team has a record of 21-3-1, including going 8-0 when scoring more than once.
Perhaps the Flyers have finally resolved their power outage, and they’ll start netting goals more consistently on the man advantage.