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Sunday, September 28, 2008


29 September, 2008

The PHILADELPHIA FLYERS have the dubious distinction of holding the NHL record for the largest drop in season-to-season point totals. In the 2005/06 season they achieved 101 points and advanced to the playoffs. The following year, the 06-07 campaign, they suffered a season-long meltdown and finished with a league-worst 56 points. Last season, they rebounded to the surprise of the NHL and most critics with a 95-point campaign. Now that’s a comeback, kid. Like a good book, the action intensified as the end of the regular season concluded and the post-season loomed.

The FLYERS surged into the playoffs winning 7 of their final 9 games. The charge continued into the playoffs as they displaced the Capitals, who were surfing their own Potomac wave having completed an equally impressive run to end the regular season and steal Carolina Hurricane’s playoff spot. The FLYERS then beat the number 1 seed in the East (Montreal) to challenge the Penguins to six hard-fought battles before succumbing to Kid Crosby and team. The PHILADELHIA club were one of the last 4 teams standing after having finished 30th in the league the prior season. They had increased their goal scoring totals by 34 goals while goals against dropped by 70, much in large part to a rejuvenated performance from Martin Biron. Biron, having the entire season to settle into the FLYERS system, finished with a 30-20-9 record and 5 shutouts giving the loving crowds of Philly a goalie they could back with enthusiasm.

To recap the 2007/8 NHL Season:
  • The PHILADELPHIA FLYERS finished the season with the league’s second best Power Play percentage at 21.82% and with 84 goals.
  • The FLYERS suffered a terrible skid in February losing 10 games in a row (0-8-2).
  • The team had seven 20-goal scorers.
  • The FLYERS have qualified for post-season play twice out of the 3 years since the lockout.
Now both the fans and the team themselves are anxious to build upon last year’s success and look to challenge Pittsburgh again in the Atlantic division and perhaps for the last spot in the East’s open invitation to Lord Stanley’s dance. They will have to do so without some of the higher priced value-players who helped propel them deep into the playoffs last season having not been able to retain both Jason Smith and R.J. Umberger due to salary cap issues. But the FLYERS believe their rash of acquisitions last year and a healthy Simon Gagne who missed the majority of last season will provide a solid core for the team.

The FLYERS began last season’s campaign with a very strong performance when measured against the OGA-developed Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC). At the end of the first 10-game segment, they were a +2.0 when measured against the curve. By the time they had completed the next 10 games OGA knew the PHILADELPHIA FLYERS had clinched a spot in the 07-08 playoffs on 21 NOVEMBER 2007. Now, a settled Philly team is ready to resume play in the 2008/09 NHL season and OGA will be closely monitoring their performance in the first 20 games to see if they can clinch another appearance in the playoffs before the holidays. Let’s see what key characteristics we can determine when viewing the PHILADEPHIA FLYERS performance over the last three years against the PQC.

(cont)…With the return of a healthy Simon Gagne and expected increases in production totals from the mobile core of Mike Richards, Joffrey Lupul and Jeff Carter, the FLYERS look to grow their new identity with another quick start. Last season, we saw them jump to a +2 rating above the Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) by the end of the first 10-game segment.

As an average the PHILADELPHIA FLYERS have finished -5.0 against the PQC but the numbers were skewered by the forgetful 2006/07 season where OGA actually called them OUT of post-season play by 28 OCTOBER 2006. The team also shows a trend of consistently playing below the PQC in February around the 60-game mark. See the chart below for the FLYERS play in relation to the curve over the past three campaigns.

This season, the PHILADELPHIA FLYERS first 10 games of the season are played 11 OCTOBER – 30 OCTOBER. Our research indicates they earn a PQC rating of 5.3 during this time frame. Since the lockout, they have lost 5 of the 6 home/away openers including all 3 on the road. In regards to each season’s opening 10-game segments, they have a winning average of 9 wins and 4 losses (69.23%) at home and a losing average of 5 wins and 12 losses (29.41%) on the road. The Wachovia Center is a tough building (read: enthusiastic fans) to step into and expect to dominate against the FLYERS team.

Some statistics of note to manage your expectations in to late October are:
  • The FLYERS play half (5) of its first 10 games at home this year. They tend to play just under average in comparison to the rest of the NHL on the PQC but even within their division.
  • PHILADELPHIA has only won one of its 3 season openers since the lockout.
  • Post lockout, the FLYERS record in the first 10-game segments is 15-13-2 with 7 of the losses and 1 shootout loss coming in their dismal 2006/07 season.
  • PHILADELPHIA has played a total of 55 games requiring either OT or a Shootout (22.36% of all regular season games). In those games the FLYERS had 21 wins and 34 (38.18% winning percentage).
OGA will be measuring the FLYERS against their PQC Rating of 5.3 (as well as with all other NHL teams) in order to provide you more in-depth analysis with the PHILADELPHIA FLYERS Game 10 Report. The G10R will be delivered to our subscription customers by 2PM Central on 31 OCTOBER and available for purchase online by 2PM Central, 1 NOVEMBER. See the OGA store for more details HERE. You can also view a sample for our G10R HERE. (Make sure to view all 3 tabs!)

The PHILADELPHIA FLYERS and their fans will be formidable foes for not only the Atlantic Division but the Conference as well. They are still a large, tough team and high-octane scorer Daniel Briere looks to thrive in this organization. He is in the prime of his career and, like Biron who had also spent time in Buffalo, has settled into the Philly system and found his place within the team. Young players like Ryan Parent and perhaps even a nightly roster spot from Claude Giroux will only further accelerate the arrival of the new era in Constitution City. Everything old is new again.

Will the FLYERS be able to recreate the success of last season? Will OGA be able to make the call of PHILADELPHIA IN the playoffs before December again this year? OGA will know and you can, too.

OGA will be measuring their team performance against the PQC online and via our Game Reports available for purchase. For your best value, see our subscription information HERE. In the meantime, stay tuned to The OGA Blog and check out the PHILADELPHIA FLYERS G10R for a thorough review of the team’s performance as measured against the PQC.

Tomorrow is Great for the unique OGA analysis of the Desert Dogs and another dose of the Frozen Pill with the PHOENIX COYOTESSPR.

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