Hakstol’s first win in Flyers home opener

Two games into the season the Flyers held a players-only meeting after a ridiculous 7-1 loss to the Florida Panthers. A lot of fans hit the panic button following a game that saw Steve Mason give up four goals before the first period was half over. People jumped on the players meeting as a sign that the team was turning against the new coach, but what we really got a glimpse of was the leadership that Claude Giroux constantly brings.

Everyone should shut the hell up about players-only meetings. Claude Giroux took his team and made sure that the ship was stable, that no one was panicking after a hard loss and somehow it means that they’re in deep shit for the season? I don’t understand, but maybe I’m missing something. So far there has been no reason to assume that Hakstol has lost his players so much that they won’t even let him into the dressing room anymore.

Image by Heather Barry.

Image by Heather Barry.

That being said, Dave Hakstol just earned his first NHL win with the help of perfect performances from Michal Neuvirth and the Flyers penalty kill. There was a lot of pressure on Neuvirth to do well. The Flyers risked starting the season with 3 straight losses for the 4th season in a row. Neuvirth, making his Flyers regular season debut had to keep the Flyers from being swept in a home-and-home against the Panthers. Most importantly, it’s the home opener, fans are rabid. Despite the weight of his first regular season start, Neuvirth was calm as could be in the net, denying any chance the Panthers got.  Neuvirth’s cat-like reflexes (pun) and quick glove saved the Flyers who were kept to only one goal. Neuvirth’s shutout makes him the 5th Flyers goalie to record a shutout in his debut game.

 

That lone goal was Brayden Schenn’s second goal of the season. After months of trade speculation, Schenn may be digging himself a safer spot in this lineup. Schenn’s goal was assisted by Sam Gagner who was added to the lineup in place of R.J. Umberger who apparently has an upper-body injury (I didn’t hear about this until like 15 minutes before the game started.) Gagner got the jump on a Panthers defender and chipped the puck into Luongo’s pads where an uncovered Schenn was ready to pick up the rebound.

Saturday night, the Flyers were killed, in part, by excessive penalties giving up three power play goals. That could have been the case tonight too. In the first period, Michael Raffl and Wane Simmonds both had double minors, Raffl’s happened a little over a minute into the game. Luckily the penalty kill was in elite form Monday night keeping the Panthers from scoring on any of their six power plays. Radko Gudas had two penalties in his debut game as a Flyer, but also contributed heavily in the #grit department. Gudas had 5 hits on the night including a nice hit on Shawn Thronton. If he can stay out of the box, Gudas may be a positive physical force on the Flyers blue line… if Luke Schenn gets traded.

 

Brief Mentions:

  • Steve Mason is dealing with a family crisis and was unable to start Monday’s game. He may be out for Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks as well.
  • Wayne Simmonds recorded a low 8:41 of ice time which had a lot of people worrying.
  • Wayne Simmonds is not on a penalty killing unit. The game had a hell of a lot of penalties. Wayne Simmonds ice time is directly related to the number of penalties the take.
  • The penalty kill looked so strong that I’m pretty sure the Flyers had better scoring chances when they were short handed.
  • Back to Wayne Simmonds. After laying a hard hit on a Panthers defender, Simmonds got into a scrum, tearing a Panther off of Matt Read’s back and jackhammering him to the ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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