The season opener on Friday is fast approaching ladies and gents, and that means it’s time for a trip down memory lane. The past decade of Flyers hockey has in large part been a forgettable one, minus a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010 against the Chicago Blackhawks, the team we open this season against in a fun twist of fate. However, there have been some spectacular moments along the way and a few in season openers. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
The Flyers open the Penguins new home in style
We start things off with a time where the Flyers owned the Penguins every single time they came into Pittsburgh. This started with the first game of the 2010-11 season where the Penguins opened the new Consol Energy Center (now PPG Paints Arena). This game also marked the debut of one Sergei Bobrovsky. The young Russian netminder was coming off of a stellar preseason and had gotten the call to start opening night over Brian Boucher.
After a scoreless first period, Danny Briere would score the first goal inside the Penguins new home on a power play goal, redirecting a Mike Richards shot less than three minutes into the second period.
More strong defense and goaltending ensured for most of the second period, until the waning moments of the period. Penalty killing specialist Blair Betts would score the second goal of the season depositing a rebound and make it 2-0 Flyers. The rookie goalie Bobrovsky would have his work cut out for him though, facing some high quality Penguins chances.
The icing on the cake for this game though was Claude Giroux scoring a shorthanded goal to put the Flyers up 3-1 for what would be the game winning goal. Giroux stole the puck off Paul Martin and absolutely undressed Marc-Andre Fleury for the goal. The Flyers would take the first game in the Penguins new home, where they would win five straight in before finally losing in April 2012.
Ray Emery shuts out Hurricanes in Flyers’ debut
The 2009-10 Flyers season is known for the team’s late charge to make the playoffs on the final day of the season, and knock off the second-seeded Devils, come back down 3-0 vs. Boston, and dominate the Canadiens to reach the Final. What gets lost in the shuffle is the fact this team actually won three straight to start the season. It all began with the Flyers opener in Carolina, which featured the debut of Ray Emery, and the big acquisition defenseman Chris Pronger.
Jeff Carter would get the scoring started with a power play goal just 25 seconds into the second period, continuing his red hot pace from a year ago. And just 22 seconds later, the captain Mike Richards would give the Flyers a 2-0 lead, which was all they would need for this one.
But the star of the show in this game would be the new goalie, Ray Emery. Razor stopped all 28 shots he faced leading the Flyers to an opening day victory in Carolina in a dazzling performance.
New-look Flyers rain on defending champion Bruins parade
After going through the biggest offseason change we had ever seen, the Philadelphia Flyers opened up the 2011-12 season vs. the reigning champs, the Boston Bruins. The previous year, the Flyers won the Atlantic Division only to be swept by Boston in the second round, leading goal scorer Jeff Carter and captain Mike Richards would be traded that offseason in a stunning move.
Ilya Bryzgalov was signed to a nine year, $51 million contract, virtually ending the Sergei Bobrovsky era in one fellow swoop. Jaromir Jagr was brought into the fold, and Matt Read became a regular in the lineup. A new look team lead by Chris Pronger and Claude Giroux went into Boston and came away with a 2-1 victory with goals from Giroux, and acquisition in the Carter deal, Jakub Voracek.
The story of this game though was Bryzgalov, who in his Flyers debut stopped 22 of 23 shots en route to his first win as a Flyer. Although we all know how everything ended with Bryzgalov in Philadelphia, this was easily one of his best moments here. He made some incredible stops including this one on Brad Marchand.