Philadelphia Flyers news and stories from around the web…
November 3 Camden Courier Post:
Since arriving in Philadelphia a little more than three years ago, Scott Hartnell has allowed his hair to define him as a hockey player.
A little wild, a bit unruly and slightly out of control. Hidden under that harsh exterior, however, is a talented 28-year-old forward whose flash is sometimes overshadowed by his brash.
Tuesday night against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, a neatly groomed Hartnell added to a season-long string of strong performances, scoring a pair of goals in the Flyers’ 3-2 win in front of 19,038 fans at the Wells Fargo Center.
The emergence of Claude Giroux and rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky also continued, with Giroux scoring his team-high seventh goal and Bobrovsky improving his record to 6-2-0 and lowering his goals-against average to 2.39. The win was the Flyers’ fourth in a row, and it moved them into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division with 15 points.
According to Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, Hartnell is a big reason.
“He probably has a clearer head this year,” Laviolette said, failing to see the pun. “He’s just enjoying hockey and being at the rink with his teammates.”
Hartnell credited former Flyers coach John Stevens for making him believe in himself as a goal scorer and Laviolette for making him a better and more committed player than at any point in his career. Hartnell arrived at training camp at 218 pounds, but was told by Laviolette to drop five pounds.
“I’m really putting in the effort after games to ride the (stationary) bike, and even though it’s only four or five pounds, I feel lighter and stronger and quicker.
November 3 Philadelphia Daily News:
“Claude Giroux said faceoffs are just part of the details.
For the Flyers, in the midst of a four-game winning streak, the details have helped win games.
In Monday night’s 3-2 win over Carolina, the Flyers dominated the puck-possession game thanks in large part to winning a season-high 61 percent of the draws.
Through 12 games, the Flyers have the 10th worst faceoff win percentage at 49.4 percent. That number, though, is heavily skewed toward the first eight games. Over the last four wins, the Flyers have won an average of 54 percent of faceoffs.
Faceoff wins have turned into goals, too. Giroux scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season just 5 seconds into a power play on Monday night.
“I think it’s an underrated thing in the game,” Giroux said. “I think it’s important to win the faceoffs. I think we’re just winning a lot of the details. Like the battles, the faceoffs and just the little details like that; and, when you do that you’re always on the puck and you can hit better, too.”
No one has helped the Flyers’ faceoffs more than Jeff Carter, who has won 58.8 percent of his draws this season – tops on the team. Carter has taken approximately half the number of draws Mike Richards has since he started the season on the wing.
Coach Peter Laviolette has made it a point to consistently work on dropping the puck toward the end of most practices.
“We’ve been working on them in practice,” Scott Hartnell said. “It pays off when you can get puck possession. It’s a big deal.”
November 3 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Forget, for the moment, that the Flyers are getting solid goaltending from rookie Sergei Bobrovsky and that their offense is clicking again.
Those are obvious reasons for the Flyers’ climb to the top of the Atlantic Division.
The more subtle reasons: The penalty-killing unit has been superb. The team has made major strides in the face-off circle, and opponents aren’t getting many shots.
Opponents are 0 for 15 on the power play in the last three games. Flyers penalty killers, directed by assistant Craig Berube, have an 88.5 percent success rate this season, placing them seventh in the 30-team NHL.
After losing the majority of face-offs in the first two weeks, the Flyers have made marked improvement. They have won more draws than they have lost in five of their last six games, including a season-best 61 percent in a 3-2 win over Carolina on Monday.
The Flyers are allowing just 26.8 shots per game, the league’s third-lowest total.
Put it all together, and you have the ingredients of a four-game winning streak heading into Thursday’s game against the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers showed lots of discipline and gave Carolina just three power plays Monday.
“We make it a little easier on ourselves when we’re not taking eight, nine, 10 penalties a game,” Blair Betts, one of the Flyers’ top penalty-killers, said after Tuesday’s practice in Voorhees.
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