Better With Popcorn

Flyers Drop Season Opener to Bruins

A late goal by Chris Kelly spoiled a fantastic goaltending performance by Steve Mason, leading to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins in the Philadelphia Flyers' season opener on Wednesday.

In the first regular season game of the first year of his contract extension, Mason was nearly flawless. He stopped 31 of 33 shots, including several key stops. If the Flyers were to have won, perhaps a luxurious steak dinner was in his future due to his role in this game.

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid took a slap shot that broke his stick as the puck fluttered high and deflected overtop of a screened Mason. Chris Kelly banged away at the loose puck with 1 minute, 51 seconds remaining in the third period, scoring the game winning goal.

Just 1:51 away from a precious point in the standings.

"You can't lose games in the last five minutes like that," Mason said following the loss. "Can't happen."

Things did not look great for the dawn of the regular season for the Flyers after an early blitz of shots by Boston, and an early undisciplined play creating the first penalty call of the Flyers' season—a very likely first of many.

Zac Rinaldo took his first penalty of the season, and the first of two in this game, a retaliation slashing call on Dennis Seidenberg. On the subsequent power play, three Flyers penalty killers found themselves trapped in the corner, leaving Reilly Smith wide open for his first goal of the season.

It may have taken a while in elapsed game time, but the Flyers found offense in the third period. Jakub Voracek finagled a puck behind the Bruins net, rushed a pass in front that deflected off of Carl Soderberg, then bounced off of Sean Couturier's chest and past Rask to tie the game.

Aside from that goal, passing accuracy was not the Flyers' strong suit on this night.

This game ended up with plenty of missed opportunities. Flyers special teams went 0-for-3 on the power play, and 1-for-2 on the penalty kill. At times, Mason had to bail his team out not only shorthanded, but while a man up. On the Flyers' first power play, especially.

Additionally, only 20 shots made it through to Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask, who was not specifically spectacular, but got the job done, even after Couturier's goal. He made a key save on a Vincent Lecavalier wraparound late in the third period which could have given the Flyers a one-goal lead.

Alas, not to be.

Claude Giroux, coming off of an injury this preseason, did not have a spectacular first game by any standard. He was credited with one shot and three giveaways. Perhaps his most glaring stat was winning just four of his 17 draws (19%).

The team will need to have a short memory, however, as the New Jersey Devils come to town for the Flyers home opener on Wells Fargo Center ice tomorrow. 

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Jordan Kuhns
Featured Writer
Twitter: @jckuhns@TCLFlyers
Email: jordan@thecheckingline.com