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On the bright side: Farabee stays hot, JVR’s 500th, a possible new top pair



Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers lost a hockey game on Sunday. That’s it. One loss in the standings.

It’s still only one regular-season game despite the fanfare and atmosphere around the Lake Tahoe game. Outdoor games usually feel that way. The team is on a national stage and gets put under a microscope.

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With one day to sit and decompress, let’s look at a few positive takeaways from the Lake Tahoe game.

Joel Farabee stays hot

Flyers sophomore forward Joel Farabee was one of the bright spots in Sunday’s game. And that’s not just because he scored while the sun was still up.

Farabee scored the Flyers’ first goal at Lake Tahoe to give them some life in the first period. He sped into the slot and managed to get a good shot off while falling to beat Tuukka Rask.


It was the second straight game with a goal for Farabee, who scored the game-tying goal to force overtime against the Rangers. He is now on a three-game point streak (two goals, three assists) and has 14 points in 15 games this season.

At just 20 years old – for a few more days at least –, Joel Farabee is showing no signs of a sophomore slump. He already matched last year’s goal total (8) and is two-thirds of the way to his 21 points from last season. Mind you, this is in just 15 games. He had those eight goals and 21 points in 52 games last season.

A milestone for JVR

Sunday’s game was a big one for James van Riemsdyk. It was his seventh NHL outdoor game and he made it one to remember with his 500th NHL point.

He had the secondary assist on Farabee’s opening goal for his 500th NHL point. In fact, van Riemsdyk had points on all three Flyers goals

One of those goals was scored by van Riemsdyk, and it’s important to note that it came on the power play.


It was the Flyers’ first power-play goal in the last three games. Beyond that, it was just their third power-play marker since the 5-3 win in New Jersey on January 26th. In seven games since then leading up to Sunday’s game, the power play went just 2 for 23. Granted, that included a long layoff, but JVR’s goal was a step in the right direction.

Like Farabee, van Riemsdyk is having an amazing season. He is third in the league with six power-play goals and tied for 10th in the league with 21 points in just 15 games. JVR is over halfway to his point total from last season (40 points in 66 games). He and Farabee are tied for the team lead with eight goals, and JVR is the clear team leader in points with 21.

Provorov – Myers the new top pair?

While the Flyers’ top-six forwards have been ravaged by COVID, the defensive corps are mostly intact.

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Travis Sanheim was on the COVID list but came off well before Wednesday’s game, and Justin Braun is the only defenseman still on the list.

Ivan Provorov, Philippe Myers, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Sanheim have been tasked with holding down the fort.

Provorov played all but two minutes of his 17:34 ice time at 5-on-5 with Myers. That pair was productive in creating and limiting shot attempts, even against the Bruins’ top line. In 15:37, they had an on-ice Corsi For of 68% (17-8 shot attempts). However, just two attempts were on net while six Bruins attempts were on net – including three goals. The Flyers still managed to have more Expected Goals For (0.33-0.25) and scoring chances (6-3) with the top pair on the ice.

Unfortunately, the second pair of Sanheim and Gostisbehere did not fair as well. In 14:16 at 5-on-5 together, the Flyers were out-attempted 23-11 (32.35 CF% for Gostisbehere-Sanheim), outshot 11-6, and outscored 2-0. Somehow, despite that and the Flyers being out-chanced 11-7 (4-3 high-danger chances in the Bruins’ favor as well), the Flyers had a 0.62 – 0.71 xGF differential with the pair on the ice.

The ideal pairs, for now, may still be Provorov – Gostisbehere and Sanheim – Myers. However, there is the potential for Gostisbehere and Myers to swap. Myers has all the tools to be a top-pair defenseman, and being right-handed gives him that much more of a boost.

Photo via Philadelphia Flyers

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