Thursday, October 11, 2012

(Fake) GAME 1 of 82: Flyers drop season opener to Bruins

With the virtual stadium rocking and the orange out in full force the Flyers faithful were ready for the start of the 2012-'13 season to begin against the teams newly reacquired rivals from the north, the Boston Bruins. If 2010 was any indication of the angst felt between these two clubs, it was only solidified during last year's season opener for Boston when they unveiled their Stanley Cup champion banner, only to be thwarted by the new-look bullies. So to say this matchup would be exciting, was an understatement.

In the KHL, goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov's struggles have been duly noted, and they showed in game one as well as Boston's Patrice Bergeron picked up a loose puck in front of the goal mouth and slammed it home on the open net, giving them the lead only 48 seconds into the contest. However, right before a penalty was to be called for hooking on Dennis Seidenberg, Jakub Voracek scooped up the puck and backhanded it past Tuukka Rask to tie it. The Flyers scored once again after Wayne Simmonds showed he's no flash in the pan by stealing the puck from the Bruins' McQuaid and deflecting a shot off Andrew Ference into the net. However, Bryz would keep cold, giving up two more goals before the end of the first as Ference got his revenge and Chris Kelly one-timed it with seconds left in the period to make it 3-2.

Unlike the first, the second period was thankfully calm which worked in Bryzgalov's favor as he stopped some key shots by the Bruins including a breakaway by Milan Lucic. Following that scoring opportunity though, Lucic's night went from good, to bad, to worse as he was called for a questionable roughing penalty. That call led to a pass from behind the net by Simmonds to Brayden Schenn for a goal that helped tie the game at three. With about 15 minutes left in the final period, newly appointed captain Claude Giroux wristed a shot over Rask's shoulder to take the lead, but no more than a minute later Bryzgalov lost whatever good vibrations he had going and let in a goal almost identical to Claude's. From that point on the Flyers struggled to keep it together as the Bruins tallied three more in crunch time (one being an open netter) and Philadelphia dropped their season opener, 7-4.

If the first game is to be a microcosm of the entire season, the thing to take away from this game is that Philadelphia possesses the firepower to win, but injuries to the blue line and the play of Bryzgalov leave the team severely lacking. It's still too early to be clear on where we should be pointing the finger, but if this team expects to be competitive in the early running, they'll need to pinpoint the problem quickly.

Next (fake) broadcast is this Saturday, October, 13th, as the Orange & Black take on the Islanders in New York.

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