Two days after falling to the same Panthers by a lopsided 7-1 score, the Flyers tightened things up defensively and kept Florida off the scoreboard entirely, aided by stellar play by Neuvirth. The presumptive backup goaltender was forced into action while starter Steve Mason deals with a personal family-related issue, and Neuvirth showed why general manager Ron Hextall was willing to pay him $3.3 million over two seasons this past July.
After facing little action in the second period, the Czech netminder held strong as the Panthers dominated the final stanza, peppering the Flyers goalie with 14 shots. He finished with 31 stops.
Neuvirth's stellar positioning also helped the Flyers kill off six Panthers power plays, after allowing three such goals in Florida. And while Roberto Luongo stymied the Philadelphia offense through the majority of the game, Brayden Schenn's first period goal proved to be just enough to earn the team's first victory of the season.
A Michael Raffl four-minute high sticking penalty less than two minutes into the contest put the Flyers on defense early. But the team would not suffer a repeat of Saturday night's terrible start. Hard PK work by Radko Gudas, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Matt Read kept the Panthers from taking an early lead, as the Flyers survived the double-minor unscathed.
Less than one minute later, the Flyers made the Panthers pay for their fruitless power play. Brayden Schenn got the tally, but it was an impressive play by Sam Gagner that created the chance. Gagner, in his first regular season appearance as a Flyer, blasted around a Panther defenseman into the offensive zone and threw the puck on net, allowing for Schenn to gobble up the rebound and give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead.
The second period saw the Flyers intensify the forecheck, as they began to absolutely punish any Panthers who dared to tiptoe into the corners in search of loose pucks. The result was a dominant territorial period by the Flyers (who outshot Florida 14-7) but no goals for either side.
Florida unleashed heavy pressure in the third period, but Neuvirth and the defense were up to the task. They face the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night as they attempt to even their overall record.
Morning Observations and analysis from last night's game can be found here.
Comment of the Night
can I take out loans for alcohol on top of my loans for money?
Isn't that what you call liquidating your assets?