A lot of the regulars were there on both sides, but it was the Flyers that got the W in the end. They took an easy 2-0 lead, fell behind 3-2, tied it up in the third, and won it in the shootout. Powe, Carter, and Briere scored in regulation, while Giroux was followed by Richie in the skills contest. Leighton played the first two periods in net, and Bobrovsky came in for the third, OT, and the shootout.
The Flyers came out fast throughout most of the first period, then took a nap until the early part of the third. It’s not how we want to see them play, and a full Devils lineup would make us pay for that sort of effort. Lucky for us, Brodeur didn’t play, neither did anyone from their top line. Next, I’ll go over how a few players looked last night, and then I’ll go back to yesterdays post about a few key things I was looking for.
- Kimmo Timonen: He looked refreshed and quick, moved the puck well, and didn’t get beat easily.
- Danny Briere: He was flying around, energetic, and even came back on defense a few times. His rocket shot that tied the game was a thing of beauty.
- Braydon Coburn: He didn’t look very sharp, giving the puck away a few times, getting beat 1 on 1, and taking a stupid penalty. Let’s just hope these are just early jitters and he picks it up, because if he plays like he did last season, our defense won’t be as good as we all hope.
- Bill Guerin: He didn’t really stand out or do anything remarkable. Aside from a chance to win it late in the game on a sneak shot from a sharp angle, he didn’t really show much.
- Michael Leighton: He looked pretty sharp, controlled rebounds for the most part, and just overall better than last season.
Now a review of what I was looking for:
- Tempo: When the Flyers wanted to play, they played well. They moved fairly quickly, and dominated the play, when they wanted to. The problem is that they kind of sat back after taking an easy 2-0 lead, and it bit them in the ass. I don’t expect that trend to continue.
- Zone breakout: This looked pretty damn good, for the most part. As soon as they took possession, they headed the other way fast. They didn’t let the Devils regroup and get into position, and got the puck into their end pretty efficiently.
- Covering up for the goalie: honestly, the goalies played better than I expected. Leighton steered almost everything to the corners, and the few rebounds he gave up were mostly impossible to prevent because the shots were from in tight. Bobrovskywent untested for the most part, but he did give up one loooooong rebound to the opposite side, but there were 2-3 Flyers, and no Devils there, so it turned out fine. Second chances were extremely limited, and we didn’t allow anyone to park themselves in front. Odd man rushes were disrupted, although there were a bit too many of them. Overall though, the team defense seemed pretty good.
- Fight: Not one, but two! NJ’s Leblondetook on both Matt Walker and Jody Shelley. Both fights were pretty good, nothing spectacular, but still fun to watch.
- Playmaking: Almost everyone in the lineup was a regular player. We already know what Richards, Briere and Giroux can do. I guess JVR did look a bit better than he did last season. You could see a few times that he’s stronger, and hard to move from the puck. Still a bit early to tell if anyone will emerge as a solid playmaker though.
Zherdev looked pretty good, trying to create a few shots, and showing the willingness to fire from everywhere. Richards looked for him a few times, and created a few chances. Overall, for a preseason game, it was a nice start. It’s not completely fair to say we’re a whole lot better than the Devils though, given that they had so many top players sitting out.
The next game is tonight, but no on TV. They won’t be on TV again until the 29th, so I’ll just have to judge things based on news reports.
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