With Gary Bettman in the building and in the Versus booth, the Flyers ruined the Penguins opening of their new building with a 3-2 win. It wasn't always pretty, especially the first period, but the Flyers got the season series against their cross-state rivals started off right.
After a sloppy first period, which saw the Flyers get outshot 15-9, the club came out dramatically better in the second. Sergei Bobrovsky will naturally get all the headlines - as he does here - and while he did play well, it's important to keep a level head. The Penguins hit more than a few posts and Matt Carle was able to bail his goaltender out on at least a couple of occasions.
While Bobrovsky stopped 29 of 31 shots, the Chris Pronger-less defense looked very shaky. Carle was quite impressive, and while Braydon Coburn showed flashes of good play, the Flyers will need their back six to play significantly better going forward.
Perhaps the best news from the night - aside from beating the Penguins in their new building - was the offense. Danny Briere scored a brilliant power play goal, Claude Giroux added a beautiful short-handed tally, and Blair Betts chipped in a goal as well. The only thing missing was some production from the Richards line.
All in all, a good night. Not great, but it's something to build on. Jump for the bullets.
- Bobrovsky was impressive, there's no doubt about that. But as said earlier, he got a lot of help from the posts and his defense helped him a couple of times. He played well enough to start again in the next week, while working on the things everyone knows he has to work on - traffic in front of the net, wide angle shots, and covering the top half of the net.
- The defense was less than stellar, but there wasn't really a glaring weakness. All three of Sean O`Donnell, Oskars Bartulis, and Andrej Meszaros had their suspect moments, but none of them were especially awful. As a unit, though, only Matt Carle was particularly impressive.
- Nik Zherdev was pretty quiet tonight. Both of his linemates were noticeable, so his invisibility will just be left without comment.
- Jody Shelley played 6:22 tonight. With an ill-timed penalty. That is all.
- The trio of Blair Betts (2 for 11), Mike Richards (5 for 16), and Danny Briere (4 for 12) were miserable in the faceoff dot tonight. Again, there isn't much to say other than that being unacceptable.
- Speaking of Richards, he didn't have a single shot all night. Playing on a line with Jeff Carter (3 shots) seems to have taken a toll.
- Lastly, that whole line (Carcillo - Richards - Carter) was pretty bad all night. They were out against the Crosby line fairly often - holding him to only 2 shots - so maybe they deserve a pass, but definitely something to keep an eye out for on Saturday.
Questions with Answers
- The opening night start belongs to Sergei Bobrovsky. Are nerves an issue? At first, it looked like it. He definitely calmed down quickly, settling in for a solid debut.
- How does the penalty kill look without Ian Laperriere? The Penguins were 1 for 5 on the Power Play, and Giroux added a short-handed tally as well, so I'd say pretty good. Darroll Powe looked especially impressive down a man, but with Blair Betts in the box at the end of the game, Andreas Nodl could have helped out a bit.
- Does Chris Pronger play? No.
- Will the Flyers shut down Crosby? No points on only two shots? Yes. Braydon Coburn and Mike Richards deserve a lot of credit for that.
- Can the Flyers christen the Pens new arena with a big win? Hell yes.
Comment of the Night
You should put Hartnell’s wife in the net. Sure he’d hit that.
Katchis, In response to Jeff Carter missing the net.