Flyers/Penguins, Round Two: Alain Vigneault Wants Flyers to Spend Less Time in Their Own Zone

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Flyers vs. Penguins on a Friday night.

Great way to end the week, and hopefully the Orange and Black put six goals past the Yinzers in a replication of Wednesday night’s performance.

It’s hard to find much wrong with the season opener, though it was a close game until the Flyers broke it open in the third period. They went down early and used a couple of power play goals to get things going, before the even strength floodgates opened.

As such, Alain Vigneault wants that to improve in game two.

“There is no doubt that we spent more time in our zone than necessary last game,” the head coach said after Friday’s morning skate. “That has to do with, in my estimation, puck battles and better execution. We need to be stronger in those two areas. That’s going to permit us to spend less time in our zone. They (Pittsburgh) are such a skilled team. They’ve got such a quick transition that we need to be better in those areas. That’s going to permit us to get through that neutral zone and go play in their end. We were effective in their end. We got some grade-A chances that we were able to create. I expect them to obviously tighten things up a little bit, but I do think we can play better than we did last game.”

The Flyers pretty much dominated in their offensive zone, they just got stuck in their own end a bunch, often with the Ivan Provorov/Justin Brain pairing. They did, however, win the high-danger chance battle 9-7 at five vs. five and 10-8 in all situations.

Certainly they had a great spurt early on in the Pittsburgh zone, then fell off a bit, as the graph confirms what we already knew:

Vigneault did like the Braun and Provorov pairing, saying this:

“I thought they played well. Not easy matchups. Most of the time they are going to see either Crosby or Malkin. They played some important minutes. In the offensive zone, I’m sure you guys noticed we sent Erik (Gustafsson) out there for a couple of faceoffs with Provy. So, there will be a couple of combinations of different players. Right now, I like the pair of Travis (Sanheim) and Phil (Myers) together. It is a big pair – mobility, size, good stick, good reach and Brauner is a smart guy. He plays the game the right way. He plays the game hard and I think with Provy right now, we’ve got three pairs we can pretty much trust.”

One other thing worth mentioning is that the Flyers did a really nice job getting bodies in front and generating traffic around the net.

Confirmed, again, by this graph:

It was mostly quality all around. Game would have been 6-2 without the Carter Hart mistake behind his own net. Pittsburgh was firing from all over the place while the Flyers really did a ton of work in front of Tristan Jarry and benefited from that.

Round two, tonight.

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