The Flyers came out tonight, and with a faint sense of revenge, spoiled the Boston Bruins elaborate banner raising ceremony. A ceremony that seemed to include everything short of Marc Savard’s concussion coming out and making a speech. The half hour spectacle resulted in a sluggish start from the Flyers, which led to a soft power play goal and the groans of Flyer fans everywhere. Here we go. A sloppy start and a soft goal. The Flyers are back! However, Philadephia did something they haven’t done in a long time. They got the lead, and closed the door.
Ilya Bryzgalov made some excellent saves, robbing Brad Marchand with the glove and a remarkable poke check to protect the Flyers lead. However, he was not without help. Kimmo Timonen absolutely robbed Nathan Horton of an open net with a stick save for the ages. The penalty kill was also solid, apart from their early breakdown resulting in the Bruins only goal. Rookie duo Matt Read and Sean Couturier both played strong while on the PK. Matt Read had a strong shift killing valuable time on the power play and Couturier had a short handed chance that was denied by Tim Thomas. There has been some speculation as to whether or not Couturier will only be with the big club for 9-10 (depending on how you read the CBA) games before being sent back to the Q, but Couturier is doing everything in his power to show everyone he deserves to stay. It seems that Peter Laviolette is also a fan, putting him on the ice in the final minutes of a game protecting a 2-1 lead.
Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr might as well just be on the ice by themselves. Their skill level and chemistry are remarkable. Jagr collected his league leading 31st opening game point as an assist on Claude Giroux’s power play tally in the first period, knotting the game at one. Jakub Voracek scored in the final minute of the first to give the Flyers the lead. Despite only producing two goals, the Flyers came out with a balanced attack and a camaraderie that seemed to be missing from former Flyers squads. After Claude Giroux was hit from behind by Zdeno Chara, both James vanReimsdyk and Brayden Coburn came to Giroux’s defense, mixing it up with the Czech giant.
At the end of the day though, all eyes were on the 51 million dollar man. As the Versus broadcast crew was quick to point out, Ilya Bryzgalov was brought in as a catalyst to a drastic shake up on the Flyers roster. The torches were ready and knives were sharpened after the bad goal in the first, but Bryzgalov did something for Philadelphia that most goalies haven’t. He shut the door. In his debut he went 22-for-23 with a .957 save percentage. Not a bad way to announce yourself to Flyers faithful everywhere. Just Bryznyz as usual for the Russian netminder.
check out Causeway Crowd for the Bruins perspective on opening night.
Tags: Boston Bruins Brad Marchand Brayden Coburn Claude Giroux Ilya Bryzgalov James VanReimsdyk Jaromir Jagr Kimmo Timonen Marc Savard Matt Read Nathan Horton Peter Laviolette Philadelphia Flyers Sean Couturier Tim Thomas Zdeno Chara