Following the Philadelphia Flyers shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks, I noticed a few subtle observations:
At the Wells Fargo Center, on opening night, there was a special feeling in the air. Fans can attend games to capacity, and the Philadelphia Flyers hoped for a fresh start. You could feel the electricity inside, waiting for the 2021-2022 season to start.
Joel Farabee scored the first goal of the season, putting Philadelphia out to an early lead. Carter Hart shut out the Vancouver Canucks in the first period. Things looked promising, despite injuries. Perhaps Chuck Fletcher made the right moves to position this franchise better to succeed.
Unfortunately, the second period unraveled, and the Flyers spiraled. Only Cam Atkinson could help stop the bleeding. The Canucks unleashed all four of their regulation goals in the second period. After forty minutes, Vancouver had the pace and energy well in hand. Philadelphia is a sports market that doesn’t give up, however.
Unfortunately, overtime didn’t play into the Flyers’ favor, losing in a shootout, 5-4.
New Year, Same Story
If I may have your attention, let’s take a trip down memory lane to the first time the Philadelphia Flyers lost in a shootout back in 2019-2020. Yes, this team is vastly different from Alain Vigneault’s debut with the Flyers, but this is the first time the NHL has carried on with a usual schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two years ago, in the third game of the season, Philadelphia lost in a shootout. You guessed it; the opposition was the Vancouver Canucks. It’s coincidental and trivial to 2021-2022, but I would say the Flyers bounced back well to a heartbreaker of a loss in 2019-2020, altogether.
Elias Pettersson was the only player to score in both shootouts versus Philadelphia.
Mr. Opening Night
Our guy, Ricky Amandeo, presented this factoid earlier tonight:
Cam Atkinson cannot stop. He was on the spot when Joel Farabee set up a delicious backdoor feed from behind Thatcher Demko. The puck drilled into the back of the net from close range.
The Buffalo Sabres, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs fell victim to Atkinson’s scoring streak. In 2021-2022, he’s back with a vengeance against the Vancouver Canucks. More than half of those teams are rivals to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Atkinson is a high-energy player recovered by Chuck Fletcher when Jakub Voracek maneuvered back to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Already, the acquisition is paying dividends. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Flyers continue to struggle on the penalty-kill. That’s a trend that cannot continue, unlike Atkinson’s scoring ways.
A Familiar Face
Luke Schenn was a scratch tonight versus a former team, the Philadelphia Flyers.
A season ago, he played 38 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 2019-2020, he played in 25 games. Regardless, that’s two Stanley Cup championships for Schenn.
Zack MacEwen (recently claimed off waivers) did not crack the lineup to face his former team, the Vancouver Canucks. He’s working through his visa after becoming the latest acquisition, per Chuck Fletcher.
Neither one can say they contributed to tonight’s result. Surely, MacEwen would love to take on a former teammate in a donnybrook. Schenn would have loved to bang bodies into the boards on the ice he called home from 2012-2016. In the end, Elias Pettersson proved to be the final nail in the coffin against Carter Hart one more time.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre