The sports calendar remains unfazed, and 5:30 pm is the first opening hockey game of the season, with a 56-game season played without fans to tie the geographical divisions with a lot on-brand for 2020-21.
And so the Flyers hit the ice for the first time, making it a good start to a season high on hopes and optimism, winning the Penguins on Wednesday evening 6-3 in a stunning start.
Six different Flyers scored a goal in the victory, as a monster winded away from the victory over their hated rivals in the third period, which would have Philadelphia fans who felt good again in the first week. It does not hurt that the game was the first of the season, and was played in front of a national audience.
Here is the good, the bad and the ugly because the 2021 campaign is now underway:
(Update – The third period goal, originally credited to Travis Konkani, was later given to Oskar Lindblom.)
• Oh, the Power Play of the Flyers. Last season it was … okay. His 20.8% clip was 14th-best in the NHL, and was slightly inconsistent. With talent on the team as a build-up, however, being in the middle of the pack certainly lacks expectations. It was much worse than the playoffs in Toronto last summer. The special teams unit was indeed a challenge, as the team had a stretch to go 1-for-25 at PP by mid-August.
A few days before the season began, defenseman Ivan Provorov said his struggles with an extra man were not for lack of effort.
“I think it’s more of an execution,” he said. “I think we’re going to try to move the puck a little more quickly, just try to attack the net a bit more and be more aggressive. But we have to execute. If you can’t execute, So you can’t. “
With Philly on his first male advantage of the season, he showed that he had a short memory – and they could actually execute – as a strong power play, which generated a handful of shots to the Flyers and kept possession Eventually gave an equalizer. Late in the first part of a point shot by Eric Gustafson (more on that in a bit) that was deflected by James Van Rimsdick.
The goal here is:
And before you can see the chicken you roast in the oven between periods (you know, because the game started at 5:30, and you were making dinner…), the Flyers once again Scored on the power play, this time with a Gustafson point shot that was re-directed, again a bit again – this time by Nolan Patrick – with eight seconds left to give Philadelphia a 2–1 lead at the break. for.
• The otherwise quiet flyers made Gustafsson the focal point of his offspring, proving him to be a year old, and signed a $ 3 million deal. The signing, which was in large part to replace veteran defenseman Matt Nisken, was also a clear indication that they like it when their defenseman scores (and assists) goals.
Gustaffson, who scored 29 points last season and a staggering 60 years before that, could be a diabolical one-two punch with Proverve, another aggressive-minded blue liner on the roster (each playing with different linets. Used to be). He looked right at the Flyers’ power play on Wednesday to create the much-needed offense at home.
• Don’t sleep on Joel Farabi, who hasn’t talked much about this offseason, but is a nerd around the net – and may find himself with ample opportunity to play alongside Kevin Hayes (who spent his second time Assisted on the goal of) and Claude Giroux he scored late before the second horn and defeated the Flyers 3–2.
He also assisted on the Flyers’ first two goals, each of them secondary assists to establish Goustafsson who set up JVR and Patrick. There is a reason why he has the option to play with the top veterans of Alain Vigneault’s two teams.
Michael Raffle must have heard me typing about the veteran, as the 32-year-old helped break another tie after two-plus minutes, after getting off a perfect pass from Scott Laughton with Pittsburgh goalkeeper Tristan Jarry Helped Philly get up. 4-3. There has been noise about the Flyers’ fourth line, and Nicholas joined the aforementioned pair with Aubé-Kubel, and could be a major force this season.
• Travis Konkney must have heard me typing before, about the young forward scoring goals as the 23-year-old earned his first season in the third by “turning to garbage gold”, I believe that is the phrase.
Later, later, the Flyers officially broke Floodgate with another strike from Kevin Hayes. The 6-3 lead looks pretty good on Opening Day.
• You know how Flyers fans always think “What if this team can play the full 60 minutes?” Okay, they had laps, obviously, as they surrendered with a 2–1 lead and a 3–2 lead, but they did not take a period and denied mistakes or repeated answers by the Penguins. Did not – and were responding. If this is a trend that continues into this season, it is one that remains the champion.
• One thing that was clear enough to see this team playing for the first 60 minutes of this season is that it is overflowing with talent. Puck skills, space understanding, skating and creativity that fans saw during February’s Red-Hot last year and all are still plenty. There were many instances where miscommunication, lack of chemistry or corrosion caused some kind of daring, but this team has the potential to go far.
• The Flyers essentially looked like the team that was dominant in the bubble in Toronto and then ran out of gas. Only, take that team, take it away from hockey for four months and give it a short training camp without any presence games. Oh, is that the case?
• It wasn’t exactly the one with the patent slow start the Flyers fans have used over the years from their favorite team, but despite some good looks on the offensive end, the team clearly worked to find their feet early Was getting it done. What can only be recognized as an ominous bounce, with the first goal of the season as a Mark Jamski shot put the Penguins on the board Somehow got nylon Over Hart’s shoulder to put Pittsburgh early. The Flyers’ first penalty of the season came after seconds – the best five minutes of hockey they had not played.
• Carter Hart did a really bad job in the second period. I’m not sure what he was thinking by making such a lousy decision with the puck, but with the penguins in the power play and with the puck on his stick, Hart took a terrible risk in which the needle had to pass with a white paint every Place shirt, and as the result you would expect.
It will certainly be a learning experience for the 22-year-old goalie, who is as good as anyone in stopping the puck and has a natural talent as far as the eye can see. But developing an experienced discipline and knowledge of when to take a chance and when to be cautious is something that will take time for that.
To his credit, Hart later made some absolutely ridiculous saves in the second, as the Penguins took a decisive advantage of a 23–16 shot through 40 minutes. He would make 31 saves in total, but clearly he must have been thinking about whether he could pass more than any save or that he could not make a win in a win.
• Not much to say about Pittsburgh’s third goal, a snipe that Hart couldn’t find at the Glove.
• Ugly is not the first word that comes to mind, but in a sense, the fact that NHL games between the Penguins and Flyers are being fought in arenas with only a handful of journalists and team employees. .
Certainly, we can all be grateful for all the games – after everything closed last March. But I can’t help but wonder what kind of homecoming the Flyers would have done before this game, after their heroic performance against the Bubbles against teams with true challenges for a young and disgruntled club. The atmosphere before the puck drop was restrained and felt like practice. For anyone who has been to a Flyers game, the leading anticipation for a Lauren Hart anthem is very special, as there are “oohs” and “ahs” for every shot to score goals and saves.
The hope here is that this ugliness will soon come to an end.
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