Flyers' winning streak coincides with winning faceoffs

Giroux
Giroux
Posted: November 03, 2010

Claude Giroux said faceoffs are just part of the details.

For the Flyers, in the midst of a four-game winning streak, the details have helped win games.

In Monday night's 3-2 win over Carolina, the Flyers dominated the puck-possession game thanks in large part to winning a season-high 61 percent of the draws.

Through 12 games, the Flyers have the 10th worst faceoff win percentage at 49.4 percent. That number, though, is heavily skewed toward the first eight games. Over the last four wins, the Flyers have won an average of 54 percent of faceoffs.

Faceoff wins have turned into goals, too. Giroux scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season just 5 seconds into a power play on Monday night.

"I think it's an underrated thing in the game," Giroux said. "I think it's important to win the faceoffs. I think we're just winning a lot of the details. Like the battles, the faceoffs and just the little details like that; and, when you do that you're always on the puck and you can hit better, too."

No one has helped the Flyers' faceoffs more than Jeff Carter, who has won 58.8 percent of his draws this season - tops on the team. Carter has taken approximately half the number of draws Mike Richards has since he started the season on the wing.

Coach Peter Laviolette has made it a point to consistently work on dropping the puck toward the end of most practices.

"We've been working on them in practice," Scott Hartnell said. "It pays off when you can get puck possession. It's a big deal."

Blair Betts, who has won 48 percent of draws this year, said he has kept a note on the puck-dropping styles for each of the 33 linesmen who conduct faceoffs.

Giroux, who has won 52.3 percent, has practiced different tricks and tactics to keep opponents off-guard.

"I think when you work on it, you pick up a couple tricks," Giroux said. "Faceoffs are just like a battle in the corner. When you win it, you get possession of the puck."

"It takes consistency," assistant coach Craig Berube said. "The more you do it, the more confident you get. When you play against guys all the time, you know what they're going to do, you know their tendencies.

"We've got guys that are trying different things all the time, thinking, 'How can I beat this guy?' I've got to change my tactics."

In the circle, the Flyers have seen the biggest difference this season on the road. Their team's faceoff percentage plummets from 51 percent at home to 44 percent on the road.

Giroux is the only Flyer whose win percentage is better on the road than at home.

"On the road, the center has to put his stick down first," Giroux said. "So I think the tactic changes a little bit. But we try to keep it simple and try to find a way to win it."

"The home team has the advantage, obviously," Berube said. "Maybe you've got to box him out, talk to your wingers about helping you out, things like that. Giroux is always thinking like that - spinning and kicking. It keeps the other guys thinking, they can't get a read on you. We've all got to do a better job."

Meszaros recovering

Defenseman Andrej Meszaros hit the ice again yesterday, hoping to be ready for tomorrow night's matchup with the Rangers. Meszaros sustained a "slight" concussion on Saturday night after being boarded by the Islanders' Trent Hunter.

Meszaros said it was the first concussion in his 6-year NHL career that he's "known about." He skated for about an hour on Monday without any headaches or symptoms.

"I'm feeling good," Meszaros said. "We'll see how it feels. The doctors didn't want to let me [play on Monday], so hopefully in the next couple days it's going to be all right to play.

"You never want to have [concussions]. It wasn't a big one, but it was something."

Slap shots

Rookie Eric Wellwood remained with the Flyers yesterday, a day after making his NHL debut. He likely will remain with the team until Danny Briere serves the remaining two games of his suspension . . . Andreas Nodl (shoulder) did not skate again yesterday . . . Soon-to-be NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr spent close to 90 minutes with the Flyers yesterday, discussing union business. The league's Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire Sept. 15, 2011.

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at

http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers. Follow him on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/DNFlyers.

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