The Flyers have a tough task at hand over the next four weeks if they want to stay in the playoff race through out the month of December. We have 13 games ahead of us until the Classic showdown against the Rangers. Of those thirteen games only three, the Penguins, Lightening, and Bruins will be home games. In addition over the month of December all of the teams we play against except for maybe the Avalanche are currently playoff contenders. The Flyers will need to play each game, each period and each shift in survival mode in order to win without their captain.
Pronger has shown to have a significant effect on the team's ability to win games. Not only does he play a lot of minutes but the stats show that his play on the ice gives this team a better chance to win every night. Over the last two seasons the Flyers have a record of 41-18-7 when Pronger plays, without him they are 23-19-8. This shows that the team has only been able to win about 55% of their games when Pronger doesn't play.
Pronger's presence on the ice affects all aspects of the game. The opposition has shown to score an average of 3.06 goals per game without Pronger compared to only 2.64 goals per game when he plays. In addition, the Flyers power play percentage drops from 19.9% to 12.3% when he is not present. While the quality of our power play decreases the opposition's power play percentage increases from an average of 15.9% to 19.6%. The numbers state the obvious and that is this team has a much more difficult time winning games without their leader on and off the ice.
So can the Flyers survive this task ahead of them and stay in the playoff race? Last year's Eastern conference 9th place team the Hurricanes did not make the playoffs winning only 49% of their games, while the 6-8 place teams made it winning just 52% of the games. The parity of the league seems even tighter this season as both 9th and 10th place teams are winning 50% of their games and that there are 5 teams just 2 points out of 8th place.
If the Flyers can win 55% of their games over the next month the stats show that it may be enough to keep them in a playoff race, but that seems much too close for comfort.
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