Greetings from North Carolina! Third & Girl and I drove down here from Philly yesterday but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention to our beloved Flyers. While the start of baseball playoffs and football season kicking into full swing has me delayed in getting my full NHL Preview out (along with the podcast Greg and I are going to record, eventually), a meaningful Flyers game deserves a recap. And as an added bonus, the Flyers won! Here we go, the 2018-19 Flyers season is underway!
The Philadelphia Flyers kicked off the 2018-19 season in Las Vegas on Thursday and the Flyers hit the ground running defeating the Golden Knights 5-2. Vegas got on the board seven minutes into the game with Jonathan Marchessault taking advantage of a Flyers line change and having an easy one-on-one look against Flyers goalie Brian Elliot. The Flyers would even things up as Oskar Lindblom, fresh off a jersey number change, would score off a Knight defender’s skate on an odd-man rush. Wayne Simmons would give the Flyers the lead at the end of the first period knocking in the rebound of a Robert Hagg shot.
The Flyers kept the pedal to the metal in the second period as Simmons netted his second goal, this time on the power play. Robert Hagg and Scott Laughton would add goals of their own as the Flyers cruised through the second period with a 5-1 lead. While former Flyer Piere-Edouard Bellemare would add a goal to hit the over for all the degenerates, the Flyers continued to add the pressure so that the defending Western Conference Champs couldn’t make any sort of comeback a reality. Flyers win, 5-2.
Aside from the obvious result of five goals, the Flyers looked great offensively. Wayne Simmons looks to be back to full health and immediately making his impact felt. When the Wayne Train comes down the tracks in front of the net, more pucks find their way home in the back of the net. Talk about the Lil’ (Wayne) Engine That Could. The bottom six forwards made an impression we can only hope lasts as the season goes on as nearly every single one of them got on the scoresheet. In fact, Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, Nolan Patrick, and Jori Lethera were the only forwards to not tally a point. Konecny pinged one off the crossbar at the end of the game, Lethera only played 10 minutes, and we know Couts is good for some goals. Patrick will be under some pressure to not have a sophomore slump, but it’s only game one. I’ll take all but four forwards getting involved and the defense core showing some signs of depth. Again, the “bottom” defensemen got on the scoresheet while Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, and Andy MacDonald didn’t tally a point. To think that Ghost and Provy won’t be getting their names on the scoresheet any time soon is laughable.
Lastly, Brian Elliot looked pretty sharp against the offensive powerhouse that is Vegas. The only two goals he allowed were on odd-man rushes when the defense broke down. The Flyers blocked 12 shots as a team and when they were defending the zone properly, they looked as good as ever. The goalie play will be the most examined aspect of this team as the season goes but the Flyers defensive zone play will be an integral part of helping the goalies out. It’s only game one so I’m not getting ahead of myself, but Elliot looks very healthy and now we need some consistency.
What’d you think of the Flyers debut? Let me know in the comments…Follow @geordo9