Bring. It. To. Broad. Flyers’ Hockey is officially back!
For game one of the season, the Flyers faced off against the Vancouver Canucks. As Zayde Wisdom and I bonded over Chipotle in the elevator to the press box, the Flyers did not start off their season as they probably would have liked to.
To kick off the game, introductions had Wells Fargo Center louder than I’ve probably heard it in years. Nearly 1.5-2 years of pent-up cheers (and some boos) all exploded for the Friday night matchup between these two teams. Lauren Hart certainly added to the energy with her renditions of both O’Canada and the national anthem. Now, onto the hockey.
The energy carried into the Flyers’ favor early in the game. All four lines brought the heat, each generating their own scoring opportunities. The fourth line was throwing their bodies everywhere, especially Nic Aube-Kubel. For the most part, the orange and black controlled play for the early parts of this game. Their momentum eventually drew a penalty deep in the Canucks zone, as Tyler Myers tripped up/interfered with Travis Konecny.
The second powerplay unit started the man advantage, as the Flyers’ first line had a long shift right before drawing the penalty. Derick Brassard centered Joel Farabee and Cam Atkinson with Ryan Ellis and Provy at the point. For the first unit, JvR tagged along with the first line and Keith Yandle. After the first unit never got set up, Joel Farabee was able to sneak one by Thatcher Demko as the penalty expired.
Let’s also not forget to mention that the Flyers’ new goal song was an homage to my good friend Liam Jenkins’ “Clayton Thorson” song…
For the rest of the period, Philadelphia continued to dominate play. The fourth line was pesky, the top two lines were visible every time they were out there, Ivan Provorov logged over nine minutes of ice tie, and Carter Hart saved all five shots he faced. At the end of the first frame, the Flyers led 1-0, outshooting the Canucks 14-5.
Canucks controlled play early in the second period, and were rewarded a little more than two minutes in. The Flyers’ defense fell into a shell as the Canucks entered the zone, and Vasily Padkolzin snipped one past Hart for his first NHL goal. Travis Konecny followed this up with a bad high sticking penalty.
Ellis, Coots, Thompson, and Provorov were on the Flyers’ penalty-killing unit of the season. After being ranked 30th last year, this trend continued. Hart did not hug the post after Elias Pettersson banked one off the board. Not even five minutes into the second period, the Flyers quickly found themselves down a goal. Luckily, James van Riemsdyk drew a holding penalty soon after, getting the powerplay units back on the ice. The first unit was able to get set up during this attempt, but couldn’t get anything in the back of the net.
After going down two, the Flyers started to look sloppy, similar to last year. Ivan Provorov cleared the puck into the crowd, picking up a delay of game penalty midway through the second. This time, Giroux was out there with Couturier, Sanheim, and Braun to start the kill. Atkinson, Seeler, Thompson, and Ellis followed them up. Thompson was stoned on a shorthanded breakaway that was started by an Atkinson steal. However, the Flyers ended up picking up an additional penalty for too many men on the ice quickly after. One step forward, two steps back.
While down 5-on-3, the Alex Chaisson snuck one behind Hart after he made a great back door save to make it 3-1, Vancouver. At least we know the penalty kill is already in mid-season’s form.
After a tv timeout, the Flyers’ second line came out buzzing. Cam Atkinson won a neutral zone puck battle, leading to a great pass by Joel Farabee back out front to him. Atkinson put it home, making the score 3-2.
Another side note- I must point out that advanced Ricky-lytics are now 1-0 on the year:
With about three minutes left in the period, Keith Yandle forgot how to hold a hockey stick, and then Carter Hart forgot how to hug the post again and loses sight of the puck. It sneaks behind him after JT Miller throws one on next to make it 4-2 Canucks. Boos echoed around the arena to end the second period. Max Willman picked up a high sticking penalty at the legit last second of the second to cap off a second period to forget.
The Flyers were able to kill the Willman penalty to start the period off on a good note. For the most part, the Flyers looked closer to how they played in the first period than the second. The top six produced scoring opportunities for the first half of the period.
The majority of the period was pretty slow. Both teams had their odd-man rushes occasionally, but not much consistent action otherwise. The Canucks noticed that Hart was struggling with hugging the post, so they just threw shots from every which direction. Keith Yandle had a pretty rough game, but Justin Braun looked as consistent and solid as ever.
Philadelphia pulled Hart with just over three minutes left in the game. Travis Konecny got 2×4’ed in the face, leading to a 6-on-4 advantage with 2:24 left. A slap in the face was all TK needed to find twine, making this a 4-3 game with two minutes left.
Then, Claude Giroux showed why he’s captain of the team. He calls for a bank pass behind the net and goes bardownski to tie this one up with just over a minute left to send this game to overtime.
Carter Hart looked really sharp as the Flyers and Canucks exchanged blows in the 3-on-3 session. The Wells Fargo Center crowd has been the loudest I’ve heard in years. With about two minutes left, the Canucks controlled pace with tired Flyers on the ice. However, Hart had all the answers. The Flyers just couldn’t get the puck back, sending this to a shootout.
The Flyers elected to shoot first, with Sean Couturier up first. Coots was denied by Demko. Canucks sent Pettersson up as their first shooter, where he put one low glove side on Hart.
Giroux was up next, where he had Demko beat but didn’t put it to the side enough. JT Miller then beat Hart to end the game.
This game was really a tale of two periods. To start the game, the orange and black came out hot. However, the Flyers didn’t play good hockey for the majority of the second period, but Hart still should have saved at least two of those second-period goals. Charlie O’Connor put it best:
The Flyers had a great comeback in the third period, but couldn’t get much control for the majority of the overtime session. Philadelphia is notorious for their lack of shootout wins, and that continued tonight. JT Miller beat Hart to end the game. Good comeback, but Canucks took this one 5-4 after the shootout. Farabee gets third star, JT Miller second, and Pettersson gets first star.
Flyers get the weekend off before facing off against Dave Hakstol and the Seattle Kraken Monday night.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre