Typically when lines are changed up in hockey it’s to jumpstart one player, maybe two. In the midst of a nine-game losing streak, the case for the Flyers changing up their lines would be to get nearly the entire team going. They have become a one-line squad with Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek leading the way. “Those guys are doing a great job. Coots is really hot. I wouldn’t break that up, either,” said Michael Raffl, who scored 20 goals the season he was with Giroux and Voracek, but is now on a line with Valtteri Filppula and Travis Konecny. “There’s enough quality in the rest of our team to pick it up. As soon as it starts clicking we’re gonna be fine.” Meantime, the Flyers continue to ride the best line in the NHL. At 5-on-5 (in most cases, teams alter their lines for the power play), the Flyers’ top line leads the NHL with 23 goals. The next best line is Tampa Bay’s trio of Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Vladimir Namestnikov who have combined for 18. Stamkos leads the league in points, but 17 of his 37 points have come on the power play. Kucherov is only one behind Stamkos, but 15 of his 36 have come with the Lightning up a man. Despite the Flyers’ lengthy losing streak, they don’t want to mess with their top line even though it makes them top-heavy. Of the Flyers’ 46 even-strength goals this year, half have come from the top unit.
Why the Flyers haven’t broken their top line (yet)
Courier-Post | Dec 5