by Mike del Tufo
Thursday, October 6, 2011
On opening night of the 2011-12 season, the Boston Bruins, the defending Stanley Cup Champions, lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in Boston. It was the 1st game for the new-look Flyers as the team was revamped in the off-season. Of the 20 players dressed for this game for the Flyers, 9 were added over the summer including expensive goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
Tim Thomas started in net for the Bruins and Bryzgalov for the Flyers.
Flyers forward combinations:
Flyers defensemen pairings:
The Bruins no doubt riding the momentum of their pre-game Stanley Cup banner raising ceremony started the game with a lot of jump and energy. The Flyers struggled to keep up. The Bruins drew the 1st penalty of the game and cashed in at 9:42 when Brad Marchand took a long pass from Tyler Seguin and scored. The Bruins continued to control play but thanks to some solid goaltending by Bryzgalov and strong team defense by the Flyers could not increase their lead. With only a minute remaining in the period, the Flyers then stunned the Bruins by scoring two quick goals. Claude Giroux scored a highlight reel goal on the power-play at 19:10. Then at 19:57, Jakub Voracek cleaned up a rebound. The Bruins seemed like the better team most of the period but the Flyers led 2-1.
The Bruins, who had fallen asleep late in the 1st period, surprisingly were still lethargic at the start of the 2nd period. Only Marchand seemed to be an offensive threat for the Bruins as they went stretches without a shot on goal. The Flyers played a solid 2nd period as neither team was able to score.
The Flyers sat on the lead in the 3rd period and had to kill off several penalties. The Flyers defense, considered by many to be the best in the NHL, stood tall. Forward Sean Couturier, a rookie, saw a lot of ice-time late in the game. He was even on the ice when the Bruins pulled Thomas for an extra attacker. Clearly, the Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette has a lot of confidence in this youngster. It was a strong start for Bryzgalov and the Flyers as they were able to protect a one-goal against a top team on the road.
Giroux on the win said, “Coming to a game here, especially the first game of the season when they are raising the banner, it’s a slap in the face and its motivation for a little payback even though it’s the first game of the season. It’s good for our ego and everybody was ready to go tonight…Everyone was pretty excited and nervous and it turned out great. Obviously Bryz (Bryzgalov) had the key saves at the end to make sure we got that win.”
The Flyers next game is Saturday at New Jersey vs. the Devils.