The Philadelphia Flyers have taken advantage of their power play opportunities this year. Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell are big reasons why their power play is operating at a 19.8 percent clip, which is best for sixth in the National Hockey League.
The Orange and Black have a league-leading 268 power play opportunities and have cashed in on 53 of them. The 53 power play goals are the most in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers tied for second with 48 goals on the power play.
The Flyers produce about the same on the road and at home on their power play. The one downside of their power play this year is that they have given up eight shorthanded goals, but they do tend to play four forwards on their first power play unit and sometimes even on the second unit.
One of the reason the power play is so good this season is the addition of Simmonds. He has nine power play goals, which is good for 12th in the NHL. He also has five assists for a total of 14 points on the power play. Simmonds has four goals on the power play this month after having zero in January.
Simmonds stations himself right in front of the opposing goaltender and defensemen have a hard time moving him out of the way. If there is a rebound anywhere near him, he pounces on it and usually puts the loose puck in the back of the net for a goal.
If the Flyers can’t skate the puck into the zone and decide to dump it in instead, Simmonds will fight for the puck along the boards usually winning the battle. After he wins the battle along the boards, he usually gets back in his office in front of the net looking for a loose puck.
The addition of Simmonds has helped to free up Hartnell on the power play. Hartnell has 15 power play goals, which is first in the NHL. He also has seven assists for a total of 22 points on the power play. With Simmonds stationed in front of the net, Hartnell usually positions himself in the slot, waiting to deflect shots from the point.
On occasion, Hartnell will position himself in the slot and get a pass from Claude Giroux that he can just one time right past the goalie. Last year, Hartnell or Chris Pronger were the big men in front of the net, but with Pronger out for the season because of post concussion syndrome, Simmonds has filled the role perfectly. Simmonds has already set a career-high in goals and being on the power play has definitely helped him achieve this goal.
The power play has been clicking all season for the Orange and Black so let’s hope that it doesn’t stall down the stretch.