The Flyers opened up the regular season with a loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night. A loss like this stings for everyone, especially with the start that the Flyers had in this game.
The Flyers looked very dominant in the first half of the game. They were winning puck battles, winning races to the puck, generating shot opportunities and chances, as well as pinning the Leafs deep in their own zone. At the end of the game, after all of this, all that they have to show for it is a 3-1 loss. The only goal came from Brayden Schenn assisted by Vinny Lecavalier with a feed from behind the net. The Flyers generated a ton of offense, but were not able to capitalize on it. There were far too many shots that completely missed the net, but it would not be fair to place all of the blame of the loss on the Flyers offense. Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier played extremely well for his first start in the NHL, saving 32 of 33 shots on net. Bernier made more than a few quality saves and kept the Leafs in the game early on.
A couple things worth noting concerning the Flyers’ play:
-Steve Masion looked very good in net and I find it hard to blame any of the goals on his performance tonight.
-The Flyers came out of the gate with a ton of energy with great forechecking and overall defensively responsible play. This lasted about half-way through the game until the Leafs pushed back and started to take control.
-They were 1 for 7 on the power play. I don’t expect them to be operating at mid-season form, but that is a lot of power play time with little to show for it. Also, it is worth mentioning that Simmonds failed to convert a penalty shot that would have knotted the game at the end of the second period.
-I really liked Rinaldo’s play tonight; he played fast, tough, and smart. He brings a lot of energy to this team.
-I also think that Streit played very well in the offensive zone, registering an assist on Schenn’s goal.
-Although Claude Giroux did not make the stats sheet tonight, he played a very solid game in both ends of the ice. He generated chances in the offensive zone, moved the puck well through the neutral zone, and played responsibly in his own end.
This is the first game of a very long season and I think it’s too early to be overly critical of the team at this point. It is extremely frustrating that, given the start they had, the Flyers lost this game. If the team does continue to struggle early on though it is possible that there may be some changes in the coaching staff coming. Regardless, I think this team has the potential to do great things this season.
Also, I’m not sure how I feel about the new goal song.