Flyers play spoilers with 3-2 win over Pens
The 2010-11 NHL Season started off with a surprise for the Flyers, in net was not incumbent backup Brian Boucher who was expected to hold down the fort while Michael Leighton was out with lower back problems. But instead Coach Peter Laviolette decided to roll the dice and go with the 22-year old Russian phenom Sergei Bobrovsky.
With a line that was at 9-22-3 – with a sub-3.00 goals-against average for Novokvznetsk of Russia’s KHL last season, Bobrobsky became the youngest goalie to start a Flyers opener since Ron Hextall. However, the coach was not wrong in his choice to play the kid.
He backed up the decision by stopping 29 of the Pens 31 shots with his only two mistakes coming on plays where even the best goalie may not have made the save. It’s far too early to proclaim him the savior of the Flyers goaltending woes, but for a first even starter in the NHL it was quite impressive.
The Consol Energy Arena opened its doors tonight to a crowd of over 18,289 and it was loud. This was able to be heard over a TV set from the WIP studios, which means the energy in the building was prime to start off the season. The capacity crowd may have left disappointed, but any hockey fan will tell you that this was a great drama for the NHL.
It was a quiet first period from the scoring end with both goalies active early. Bobrovsky stopped 15 shots from the Pens whereas Marc-Andre Fleury blocked 9 shots from the Flyers respectively.
The scoring opened up in the second period with Danny Briere getting his first of the year from Mike Richards’ pass at 2:51 of the second period only 6 seconds after Deryk Engelland went off for hooking. Later in the period, Blair Betts made it 2-0 on the power play after grabbing the rebound from a Darroll Powe shot.
It was the 3rd period that had the most action of the game. It started just 44 seconds in when Tyler Kennedy got his first of the season from Paul Martin and Kris Letang. Claude Giroux helped regain the Flyers’ two-goal lead at 4:55 by stealing Letang’s pass, which was intended for Paul Martin, then beating Marc-Andre Fleury on a breakaway after a pretty video-game esq move.
Just 19 seconds later, youngster Alex Goligoski scored Pittsburgh’s first power-play of the year to make it 3-2. With less than two minutes in the game the Flyers were called for hooking, which put the Pens on the power play. The Flyers were able to kill it off and escape with a 3-2 victory and are now able to find themselves atop the Atlantic Division, and up one game on the Pens in the season series.
The Flyers now have the day off and will travel to St. Louis to faceoff against the Blues Saturday Night at 8pm. That game can be found on CSN for TV and Sports Radio 610WIP on your radio dial.
Notes: Flyers D Chris Pronger (knee surgery) missed his first regular-season game in three seasons. The Flyers won only their fourth in their last 13 against Pittsburgh. The Penguins played before their 167th consecutive home sellout.