Better With Popcorn

Flyers Host Canucks In Home Opener


After two successful games on the road, the Philadelphia Flyers (2-0-0) will host last season's "runner up to the cup", Vancouver Canucks (1-0-1). The Flyers beat Boston and New Jersey while battling through Tim Thomas and Martin Brodeur to start the season undefeated.
Ironically it was the Flyers' net minder who was the better of the goaltenders in those matchups, allowing only one goal in 120 minutes of play. The Canucks, fresh off a 3-2 OT SO win in Columbus, head into Philly for their second game of their current four game road trip.
The matchup between these two teams tonight will be the only one of the season unless they face each other in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Flyers are 37-18-1 at home versus Vancouver and have an overall record of 68-29-13. The Flyers have lost the last two matchups, one in Vancouver and One in Philly.
The Canucks found the net nine times during those two games while the Flyers manage to only find the net twice. The last time the Flyers beat the Canucks was in Vancouver on December 30, 2008.
There has been only one playoff round played between these two teams, in the 1978-79 season. They met in the preliminary round, a best of three, in which the Flyers took the series 2-1 outscoring the Canucks 15-9. These two teams battled for the top spot in the league during the first half of last season, a title Vancouver eventually won.
The Flyers will have to play a more disciplined game and avoid the unnecessary lazy penalty as the Canucks will test the Flyers penalty kill unit.
On the Lookout
Obviously the Flyers will have to keep the Sedin twins in check tonight. Daniel(#22) and Henrik (#33) both have three points this season, Daniel has the only goal of the two. The Canucks have six goals in their first two games all by a different player.
The Flyers need to get their power play back to preseason form. Wayne Simmonds (#17) seems to have found a home, not only in Philly but in front of the net. Look for him to cause some havoc in the crease and deposit the trash.
The Jaromir Jagr (#68) Claude Giroux (#28) connection is still in it's infancy stages with the potential to grow legendary in Philly like the cheese steak.
In The Net
Probable starters
Ilya Bryzgalov will make his Flyers home debut tonight and should get a huge ovation from the hometown crowd. He enters tonight's game 2-0 with a shutout and a .50 GAA. He has let up one goal on 43 shots and has a save percentage of .977.There is still a feeling out period for him and his defense but so far so good.
The Canucks will go with Roberto Luongo (0-0-1) with a 2.77 GAA and an .893 save percentage. This will be his second start of the season as Corey Schneider started and got the win in Columbus. Traffic in front of him will be key for the Flyers tonight.
Larry's Logic
It will be interesting to see how the newly revamped squad performs after having a few days off from game action. Last year they did not fare well when coming off a 3-4 day break.
There is a different mix of young players in the Flyers lockeroom this season which should add a spark to this team . With the party boys gone in trades this off season, the Flyers play may not resemble that of a weekend warrior. One who plays in an over 30 league with a hangover, on Sunday mornings.
Step Up Players
Briere - Needs to find the back of the net
Hartnell - Needs to play more Simmonds like
Talbot - Needs to be Stronger on the draw and on the Penalty Kill
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Mark Trible's picture

Should be a good one, Larry. Interested to see if the home atmosphere that worked against NJ and Boston bites the Flyers tonight

Larry DAngelo's picture

Home openers are sometimes a crap shoot, they just need to make sure they focus their energy in the right areas and not get too hyped up. Should be a good test for them.

Matthew Brigidi's picture

Tonight will be a great opportunity for the club to show what kind of team they are. Even a losing effort will give us insight as to what we can expect from them this season. I hope they continue to demonstrate a strong defensive mindset and really force the Canucks to work for every puck

Bense's picture

Strangely I think the biggest statistic tonight for me is faceoff wins. Specifically Couturier/Talbot. I want to see them step it up a bit because our team as a whole has been terrible. If Couturier can prove himself in the faceoff dot, thats another huge step in him becoming a defensive force. I'm starting to like the idea of Talot - Couturier - Nodl on the 4th line. That would be a great shutdown line.

Larry DAngelo's picture

Yeah it will be a big stat all season long especially with Betts not technically here. Puck possession is a key part of the game and it starts with the face-off and carries on into the corners and along the boards. All of the centers need to do a better job at this but especially Talbot on his regular shift and PK . With Coutourier , face off wins will help keep him up with the big club

John Russo's picture

Ah, the opener vs Vancouver. This is part 1 of the next 2 tough games for the Flyers to really gauge if this hot start is for real.

Hard to believe Briere hasn't scored a goal yet. I know it's two games but with Simmonds and Voracek on that line, you'd think he'd get one in the first two games.

And totally agree with Hartnell. He and Simmonds are the same player. Both are important parts for their respective lines' success.