The Philadelphia Flyers had a shutout in the preseason this year. Game two of the preseason, actually. But that doesn't matter or anything. Tonight, they had a real life shutout against a real life NHL team, even if the New Jersey Devils didn't look like one for stretches of the game.
I feel all confused, like a lost puppy dog. A lost puppy dog that's also a Flyers fan and doesn't know how to feel about having a goaltender that doesn't stress me out. Because as good as Sergei Bobrovsky was last year, you still never felt 100 percent confident in there. He didn't play a calm game. Bryzgalov plays a calm game, and my God, the rebound control makes me want to cry tears of joy.
It's just a different feeling this season. It's only been two games, but the Flyers are scoring goals, the power play looks lethal even when it doesn't score, the goaltending lacks anything that could be called stress-inducing, the defense is virtually the same as before and we're getting contributions from the young kids that we were so worried about.
Bill Clement said on the CSN broadcast tonight that it's common to see 18-year-olds come in the league and show offensive skill, but that for one to come in and show such defensive instinct is extremely rare. Eric proved to us (a bit more analytically) this same thing on Friday, and we have to remember that it's only been two games. We're silly if we get ahead of ourselves here.
But damn, what we've seen in these two games has been seriously exciting, hasn't it? A few more thoughts, questions with answers and the comment of the night after the jump.
- Wayne Simmonds was the shit tonight. He scored a greasy goal in front of the net, then he pummeled a pretty tough dude in David Clarkson. And when I say pummeled, I mean absolutely destroyed. We'll post the video ASAP in case you missed it, because it's worth watching again. And again. And again.
- Matt Read scored his first NHL goal, and that's awesome. On Martin Brodeur nonetheless. In reality, Brodeur probably wants it back. It was a shot right into the body and he let it sneak in somehow, but I'm sure Read doesn't mind. Congrats buddy.
- That whole "relentless" thing that was the team slogan a few years ago kind of turned into a joke. So far this year, the puck pursuit in all three ends of the ice is just unreal. The Flyers were all over the Devils tonight whenever the opposition had the puck, much more than they were against the Bruins. New Jersey had absolutely no breathing room, especially in their own defensive end. Smothering stuff. Keep it up.
- So like, the Devils weren't good. And they looked a whole lot like a certain orange and black team with all the penalties tonight. That's pretty hilarious. Also, Matt Cooke has more goals than they do this season. /laughs //snorts milk
- Speaking of penalties, Zac Rinaldo has four PIM in two games now. That's not the way to stay on this team, and if this is what keeps up, he needs to be sent back down. It cost the team in Boston directly with a power play goal against and it almost did tonight as well.
It doesn't matter if they're bad calls just being made based off of his reputation either (and there's a legitimate case to be made for that, too). He's earned that reputation and has to deal with it now. Besides: I mean, damn. Wayne Simmonds can clearly handle the heavyweights anyway.
Questions with Answers
- Can the team avoid the same slow start that plagued them on Thursday night in Boston? They came out firing. It was cool.
- Sean Couturier played some really tough defensive minutes in Game 1. Does that continue? Yup. Second-most PK time amongst forwards, too. Laviolette trusts him and there's been no reason not to trust him so far.
- So like, how do the Devils look after being shitty last year and stuff? They really didn't look all that good.
- I'd say that, even despite the goal from Voracek, the second line was the quietest of the bunch on Thursday. How's that go tonight? Kinda the same deal, I thought. Some sustained pressure at times, but overall very quiet. Haven't seen much Briere yet.
Comment of the Night
You afraid I'm going to COTN myself? Because I've been known to.