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November Reign

Meltzer takes a deep dive into 16 facts that made the Flyers Kings of the Month

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer

There is still a lot of hockey to be played during the 2019-20 regular season. Even so, the Philadelphia Flyers can use their Dec. 1 off-day to savor some of their accomplishments during one of the best November performances in franchise history. Come Monday, it will be time to turn the page and prepare to attack the December schedule.

Here are 16 facts about the Flyers' 16-game slate in November:

1. Best record in the NHL in November (10-2-4, 24pts): The Flyers' collected 24 points in November, despite having one of the most difficult schedules in the league over the past month. Philly had to play 16 games in 30 days, In terms of quantity of games, the Flyers had three separate gauntlets of three games within four nights and two stretches of four games within six nights. What's more, Philadelphia was at a significant fatigue factor disadvantage in four different games-- being a potentially tired team after travel plus quick turnarounds between games plus facing a rested opponent -- but gained points from all four games (2-0-2), with both losses coming via shootout.

2. Tied a franchise November record: The Flyers' 24-point November tied a franchise record for the most points that month. It was accomplished three previous times: Nov. 1979 (amid the team's North American pro sports record 35-game unbeaten streak), Nov. 1985 (while dealing with the grief of Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Pelle Lindbergh's fatal car crash on Nov. 10), and Nov. 1990.

3. The 10-win club: Collecting double-digit wins in a month isn't quite rare in today's NHL but it is also isn't common. November 2019 marked just the fourth time in the last nine seasons that the Flyers have won 10 or more games in any calendar month. The previous times were January 2011 (10-2-0), March 2012 (11-3-2), February 2018 (10-1-2).

4. Strong between the pipes: With only a couple of outlying games all month, the Flyers received stellar goaltending in November. Both Carter Hart (6-2-2, 1.94 GAA, .927 SV%) and Brian Elliott (4-0-2, 2.24 GAA, .924 SV%) regularly gave the Flyers a chance to win games.

5. Balanced offense: Entering November, the Flyers were concerned they were not getting offense from more than one line (Sean Couturier's trio). While there were stretches where finishing scoring chances was a chore, Philly ended up with pretty good balance for the month. Eleven different forwards scored at least one goal, and four different defensemen also lit the lamp including a three-game goal streak for Phil Myers. In total, a half-dozen Flyers posted at least 10 points during the month, led by Sean Couturier's 15 points (6g, 9a) and Claude GIroux's 12 points (6g, 6a).

6. Welcome to the NHL: Both Joel Farabee (Nov. 1 in New Jersey) and Morgan Frost (Nov. 19 at Florida) scored their respective first goals in the National Hockey this past month.

7. Goals in first two NHL games: Frost's shorthanded goal in Carolina directly off a faceoff win by Claude Giroux gave the rookie goals in each of his first two games in the NHL. In Flyers history, the feat was accomplished previously by Bill Sutherland and Andre Lacroix during the inaugural 1967-68 season, Mel Bridgman in 1975-76, Eric Lindros in 1992-93 and David Laliberte in 2009-10. Frost had a pair of 2-on-1 opportunities in his third NHL game but was unable to carve an exclusive place in team history.

8. Puck possession dominance: With the exception of the fatigue factor games, the Flyers often did an excellent job in terms of limiting opposing scoring opportunities. Even in a fatigue factor game in Boston on Nov. 10 -- a 3-2 shootout win with Hart starring in the third period and beyond -- the Flyers held the Bruins to a mere 10 shots through the opening 40 minutes. The most dominant two-game stretch of the month from a puck possession standpoint came on Nov. 23 against Calgary and Nov. 25 against Vancouver. Per Naturalstattrick, Flyers generated 29 scoring chances (13 high-danger) to 13 (6 HD) for Calgary. Against Vancouver, Hart saw only 17 shots overall and a mere eight over the second and third periods.

9. Ivan the Great: The month of November concluded with Ivan Provorov scoring a highlight reel worthy end-to-end goal to defeat Montreal in overtime. The Flyers' fourth year defenseman was excellent all month, and logged monstrous ice time. He played no fewer than 20:29 (Nov. 5 vs. Carolina) in any game, 25-plus minutes in 13 of the 16 games and topped out at 28:37 (Nov. 23 vs. Calgary).

10. Working overtime: Nine of the 16 games in November were tied at the end of regulation. The Flyers went on to win two overtime decisions against Montreal (one home, one road) and three shootouts (at New Jersey on Nov. 1, at Toronto on Nov. 9 and at Boston on Nov. 10). On the flip side, the Flyers lost four shootouts (vs. Toronto on Nov. 2, vs. Washington on Nov. 13, vs. New York Islanders on Nov. 16 and vs. Calgary on Nov. 23).

11. Stellar penalty kill: The Flyers killed penalties at 86.0 percent clip (37-for-43) in their 16 games in November and Frost notched a shorthanded goal. The power play (9-for-54, 16.7 percent) was less consistent than the PK but struck for some key goals. One of the biggest came in Carolina on Nov. 21, as Provorov drew the Flyers back to even in the first period after Philly had trailed 2-0. Provorov's power play tally followed a Giroux goal that got the Flyers on the board. The Flyers went on to win, 5-3.

12. Dynamic duo keeping clicking:  The "CLIK" line trio of Couturier, Oskar Lindblom and Travis Konecny carried the Flyers offensively for the first month of the season. Later, in order to try to spread the wealth a bit, Konecny was moved onto Giroux's line and Jakub Voracek was moved onto the Couturier line. Couturier (15 points. +11 at even strength) and Lindblom (5g-5a, +10) hardly skipped a beat. Meanwhile, when they were reunited with Jakub Voracek -- their most frequent linemate from the second half of last season -- Voracek broke out of an offensive slump. Voracek finished the month with seven points (2g-5a) over the final five games of the month.

13. Goal scoring by situation: The Flyers scored 36 even-strength goals in November, 9 power play goals, 1 shorthanded goal and 2 overtime tallies at 3-on-3. By comparison, in 11 October games, the Flyers notched 25 even-strength goals, 10 power play goals, 1 shorthanded goal (Kevin Hayes) and zero overtime goals.

14. Individual Corsi:  Per's stats, 11 different Flyers were on the positive side of the Corsi ledger (on-ice shot attempts vs. opposing shot attempts at 5-on-5) in the month of November. After his return from late October surgery to repair a broken finger, Scott Laughton was a dynamo in the "play driving" department, posting a 56.03% Corsi for November. He was followed by Couturier (53.01%) and Provorov (52.3%).

15. Physical play: The Flyers were eighth in the NHL with 348 credited hits during the month of November. Tyler Pitlick led the way with 39 credited hits in 15 games played, followed by Matt Niskanen (36 hits in 16 games).

16. Paying the price: Five separate Flyers defensemen averaged one blocked shot per game or more in November: Provorov (1.8), Justin Braun (1.6), Niskanen (1.3), Travis Sanheim (1.2) and Myers (1.0). Robert Hägg also averaged a block per game (6 in six games) but did not dress in 10 of the games.

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