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79 wins left: Flyers hold off Canucks, 5-4, despite 4 billion penalties, 5 billion shots against

Andrej Meszaros has the best goal celebration on the team. Not a debatable topic.
Andrej Meszaros has the best goal celebration on the team. Not a debatable topic.

[Recap] - [Game Page] - [Vancouver Reaction] - [Game Thread: 123]
[Box Score] - [Event Summary] - [PBP Log] - [TOI Log] - [Faceoff Report]
[Shift Charts] - [Head-to-Head TOI] - [Corsi and Fenwick] - [Zone Starts]

PHILADELPHIA -- There are a lot of things we don't know about these 2011-12 Philadelphia Flyers. Of course, that's expected when you have a bagillion new players around, but very quickly just three games into this season, we're learning one thing that hopefully sticks around.

They're fun to watch. Like, really fun. Again, it's a young season still, but I don't remember having this much fun watching early season hockey in a long time. A lot of it has to do with being completely memorized by Jaromir Jagr every time he touches the puck -- not to mention his tag team with Claude Giroux -- and the fact that the power play looks potent every time the first unit steps onto the ice, to be sure. A lot of it has to do with, as good as Sergei Bobrovsky was last season, not fearing the weak goal every time the opposition presses in the offensive zone.

Maybe a lot of it has to do with the lack of real expectations with this team, too. Sure, we expect them to win, but after the Finals run in 2010, last season was wrought with "We're going to win the Stanley Cup!" type stuff. This year? Much more relaxed. Much more fun.

This team might not be as good as last year's when the regular season comes to a close. In fact, there's a very strong chance they'll finish with less points this year than they did a year ago. But you know what? I also have a feeling the ride is going to be much more enjoyable this year. 

Notes that are a little more specific to tonight's 5-4 win over the Canucks, as well as questions with answers and the comment of the night, after the jump.

- Wayne Simmonds has never been a power play player, but damn, he looks faaaaaaaaantastic on the PP in front of the net. He was the reason Chris Pronger scored his goal. Roberto Luongo never saw it.

- Speaking of, Luongo looked bad tonight. Like, really bad. He stood out most on James van Riemsdyk's, when he stupidly negated an icing call, then gave the puck up on a clearing attempt around the boards before it found its way into the Flyers possession and into the back of the net. Our expensive goalie is better. 

- Faceoffs were a bit better tonight, mostly thanks to Danny Briere's solid night at the dot. He went 11 for 17, good for a 65 percent conversion rate, and the team as a whole won 52 percent of the draws. It's been a weak spot in the first two games but was a bit better tonight. Still room for improvement, though.

- The penalty kill ultimately got the job done when it mattered most late in the third period, but they generally did not handle the test of the potent Canucks power play all that well. Even when Vancouver didn't score, they were still able to pick apart the penalty killers like it was a walk in the park. 

Sean Couturier was really the weak link on the PK. He's going to get better at it and he even progressed as the game went on, and the experience as invaluable for him at this point, but jeez... he was all over the place. Nice to see Lavi stick with him though, even in the final minute of a one-goal game. He looks a little unnatural when a man down right now, but at 5-on-5 he looks like he belongs. That's encouraging.

- Cooter's pass on Jakub Voracek's goal in the second period was awesome. I'm not trying to pick on Jeff Carter here (alright, yes I am), but look at that goal again. If that's him, that hits the glass instead, doesn't it? And the Flyers win this game in OT. Or they lose. *whistles, walks away*

- Zac Rinaldo stuck out again in all the wrong ways. Three games, three penalties that cost his team. Peter Laviolette didn't name him specifically after the game, but his was one of the more boneheaded during a third period train of bodies to the box. Not the way to stick on the team, buddy.

Questions with Answers

  1. First big defensive test for the Flyers tonight. How do they hold up? Eh. It was tough to get a solid read on much tonight with all the special teams play, but the Flyers allowed four goals. Not the best defensive effort. 
  2. Who goes head to head with the Sedins? It seemed to be a mix of the fourth line (defense slowing down offense) and the top line (strength vs. strength). Oh, and every single penalty killer. 
  3. The power play has been decent, but it could be better. How's it look tonight? Good. That top unit is scary good and they're gonna score a lot of goals. 
  4. Over/under on the amount of derisive Luongo chants tonight is set at FOUR. So, over or under? Zero. Disappointed, you guys.

Comment of the Night

You live at Giroux's house?

>> pintium02 (context here)

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