A month of games is a good sample size.
The Flyers didn't blow the door down in October 2017. Still, they were a good deal better over their first 12 games of last season compared to this October, which says a lot.
And the trends are a bit troubling given the expectations were considerably greater entering 2018-19. It's not just the question marks remaining unanswered thus far; some of the perceived certainties are falling short, leaving fans uneasy and calling for change.
Here are some critical differences from this October to last:
• After October in 2017-18, the Flyers were 6-5-1 with 13 points, 41 goals scored, 35 against, 10 power-play markers and nine against.
Their 41 goals were tied for sixth in the NHL and the 10 man-advantage tallies ranked in the top 10. The Flyers were at least scoring; there was no doubt about the offensive ability and they were respectable defensively.
Through their first 12 games this season, the Flyers are 5-7-0 with 10 points, 34 goals, 48 against, seven power-play markers, while the penalty kill has surrendered 14 tallies.
They're permitting the most goals in the NHL, the PK is tied for last in goals allowed, the PP is bottom 10 percentage-wise and the team's minus-13 goal differential is third worst in the league.
The overall drop-off is startling.
• Last season in October, the Flyers' big boys were clicking. Among the NHL, Jakub Voracek was tied for fourth in scoring (16 points), Sean Couturier (15 points) was in a six-way tie for fifth and had a plus-10 rating, while Claude Giroux had 14 points - all three sitting in the top 15.
Also, Shayne Gostisbehere was knotted with Alex Pietrangelo for the league lead in scoring among NHL defensemen with 13 points to go with a plus-3 mark. His partner in crime Ivan Provorov had eight points and was even in the plus-minus department.
This season after October, Giroux has nearly kept pace at 13 points, Voracek has played in bursts and owns 12 points, while Couturier has taken a big step back with four points and a minus-4 rating. So, the Flyers have seen a 14-goal contrast when Couturier is on the ice, a significant hit from a player so relied upon and well-rounded.
The same goes for Gostisbehere in terms of his importance. He is currently tied for 44th among NHL blueliners in scoring at five points and sports a minus-9 mark. Provorov has just four points and a minus-7 status.
• Perhaps the most concerning trend is Brian Elliott. Not because of a drastic decline in play, but instead because of almost identical production. That goes to show just how shaky the effort has been in front of the net, through all three zones, and that Elliott might not have a ton of room to be better.
Over last season's opening month, Elliott was 5-2-1 with a 3.23 goals-against average and .884 save percentage. This season, he's 3-5-0 with a 3.23 goals-against average and .889 save percentage.
It also doesn't help that Michal Neuvirth has played just once and allowed six goals compared to last season's start in which he went 1-3-0 with a 2.30 GAA and .925 save percentage.
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