Two Simple NHL Numbers Define Philadelphia Flyers' Problems

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Flyers NHL
Eric Hartline – USA TODAY Sports

Everyone can delve into deep digital analysis if they want to. But, an easy explanation regarding the Philadelphia Flyers‘ shortened-seasonal dilemma can be found by simply looking at two National Hockey League numbers.

The players that general manager Paul Holmgren has provided for head coach Peter Laviolette to lead this hockey year rank sixteenth in the League in average goals scored (2.77) per game.  The Pittsburgh Penguins rank first with a 3.54 per game average.

The Flyers also rank twenty-fifth in the NHL with a 3.04 GAA per game. The Ottawa Senators and the Chicago Blackhawks share the League lead with a 1.96 GAA per game.

As a side note: Every hardcore Flyers’ fan was deeply happy to see the Blackhawks long points parade stopped this week, because that keeps Philadelphia’s historic 35-game unbeaten streak (established in 1979-80) intact.

The Flyers can’t possibly piece together more than one, or two wins at a time this season, let alone think about making a playoff push, with such an inconsistent defensive scheme. Having a modest offense in place doesn’t allow any margin for error during those games when Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn or Matt Read aren’t pushing their way onto the scoresheet.

The effect of Chris Pronger’s continued absence, Matt Carle’s off-season loss and the lack of any decent defensive replacements, other than Luke Schenn, has directly caused the current blue line flu. My diagnosis has this defensive unit wheezing until late April, after which they seem likely to have plenty of time to rest.

There are scores of fine rink sources who are accurately detailing every point that can be made about why the 2012-13 Flyers are in trouble. I respect the analytical efforts that many are making and also know that the two main numbers that were presented in this feature tell the entire story in “overtime format” fashion.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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