Flyers Spoil Boston B Party, Win 2-1
That’s how long into the Philadelphia Flyers first contest it took for a collective groan to rise from their fan base. The groan actually grew over that time but when Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand scored the game’s first goal it got louder.
A team full of new additions looked terribly shaky on the ice. The goalie who made dump trucks full of money was beaten on just the fourth shot on net. The aging defense had given up too many odd man rushes. It looked like the banner-raising in bean town would be a Bruins bamboozling.
Eventually, the Flyers found their legs and looked like a unit. With the team on a power play after a slashing call on Nathan Horton, they finally cashed in.
Jaromir Jagr found Claude Giroux on a zone entry and Giroux broke through the Bruins defense on his way to a beautiful deke and goal. The score was eerily reminiscent of his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins a year prior. Falling down and fading to the goalie’s left side, he deposited the puck in the net while taking it of its moorings. Jagr’s assist made him one of nine players to hit the 1600th career point plateau.
The goal came with just 50 seconds remaining in the first period and it looked like the two teams would come out with a clean slate in the second. With time running down on the first period, Wayne Simmonds took the puck behind Boston’s net. After a shot from Andrej Meszaros, the puck found Jakub Voracek’s stick and he spun a shot past Tim Thomas with just three seconds left in the first period.
What seemed like a lopsided start turned into a lead and the Flyers celebrated like they were playing peewee hockey.
Philadelphia maintained their aggressive play and dominated the second period. Although neither team could tally on the scoreboard, the Flyers led 25-12 in shots on goal through two periods. Once they got going in the first period, the cohesiveness was evident. Despite needing to find chemistry with all the new faces, the team found a way to sustain pressure.
They cycled the puck well.
They were persistent on the forecheck.
They played like they should with a younger lineup intent on making an impact.In the third, Boston threw their best effort at the Flyers, but some timely Bryzgalov saves and solid defense turned them away. In one instance, Kimmo Timonen robbed Horton with a save of his own. For as good as Bryzgalov was in stopping 22 of 23 shots, a little luck was welcome too.
Thursday’s effort was nowhere near perfect for the new-look Flyers, but there were far more positives to take from the game than negatives. Rookies Sean Couturier and Matt Read played very well despite being put in incredibly important situations in their debuts. Bryzgalov made some fantastic saves and made the routine ones as well. The new additions of Jagr, Simmonds and Voracek made their presence felt.
All in all, it was about as good as the Flyers fan base could’ve wanted.
Despite that first 9:42.