The Philadelphia Flyers won their first game of the season tonight against the Florida Panthers 2-1.
The win also marked new coach Craig Berube's first NHL win in his first game as a head coach.
The Flyers got off to an early two goal lead then were able to hang on for their first victory of the season.
Berube's team came out and played a solid 1st period as they were able to come away with a two goal lead, their first lead going into any intermission this season.
Both goals for the Flyers were plays that resulted from wide shots that wildly banked off the boards behind the net and came back out quickly.
Brayden Schenn got the Flyers on the board first after Jake Voracek's shot ricocheted off the boards and back in front, right on Schenn's stick, and the Flyers were up 1-0 just 4:49 minutes into the game.
Less than three minutes later, the Flyers were at it again. This time it was Sean Couturier who's shot caromed off the backboards all the way back to Braydon Coburn at the point. Florida goaltender Tim Thomas appeared to hurt himself on Couturier's shot and was slow getting up. Coburn, who was aware enough to see this just, quickly fired the puck on net and it was enough to beat Thomas. The goal was Coburn's first since February 2nd (27 games). Following the goal, Thomas left the game with a lower body injury and did not return.
Then it became the Steve Mason show. Mason, to quote Frank Calder, 'stood on his head' tonight keeping the Panthers to just one goal helping the Flyers hang on to earn their first 'W.' Save after save, Mason kept the Flyers on top including a big save on a shorthanded breakaway in the 2nd period and several saves to help kill off a four minute PowerPlay in the 3rd, stopping a total of 33 of 34 shots.
After the game, Scott Hartnell commented on CSNPhilly about Mason's game, "Our goalie played unbelievable for us. He definitely won us the game."
The Panthers outplayed the Flyers in the 2nd period and kept them on their heels the whole 20 minutes all the way down to the last second. And with just 6.7 seconds to go in the period, Florida was able to break threw and finally beat Mason. Luke Schenn blocked Brian Campbell's shot but the loose puck wound up on Brad Boyes stick and he deposited it into the wide open cage.
The final period came down to special teams. The Flyers were forced to kill a Jay Rosehill four minute penalty, in what Berube called 'unacceptable.' Rosehill was on his way to the penalty box when he came back out to join a scrum and pulled a man down from behind earning him a double minor and a 10 minute misconduct (and possibly a benching from the new coach for their next game).
Fortunately, Philadelphia was able to successfully kill off the foolish penalties maintaining their one goal lead.
Not long after their four minute penalty kill, the Flyers were given a five minute major PowerPlay when Hartnell was boarded by Panther Erik Gudbranson; Hartnell was uninjured on the play. Gudbranson was given a five minute major and a game misconduct.
However, the Flyers failed to score. "Our PowerPlay was awful," echoed Hartnell after the game to CSNPhilly. Berube reiterated on Hartnell's comments, saying that they have to be better on the man advantage. Philadelphia was 0-5 on the PowerPlay tonight including the major.
The game ended on a high note for the Flyers as not only did they secure the victory but they showed they wanted it in the end. Led by Couturier and Matt Read, the Flyers kept possession of the puck inside the Panthers zone for the final 30 seconds of the game, not allowing Florida to even pull their goalie. This drive to win is something that was previously missing but clearly evident tonight.
After the game, when asked if he thought the Flyers played well, Berube was honest, saying to CSNPhilly, "At times I did and others I didn't. It's a learning thing and we'll get better at it."
"Change is never easy," Hartnell said referring to having a new coach on CSNPhilly, "but I think we battled hard and played for each other."
And that's exactly what Craig Berube wants, accountability.
The Flyers improve to 1-3 on the season.
- Jake Voracek scored his first point (assist) of the season on Schenn's goal.
- Claude Giroux was held scoreless again. He has now started the season with zero points in four games.
- Last time Giroux went 4 games without a point was on November of 2010. The Flyers also went 1-3 in those 4 games.
- Giroux's longest strong without a point in his career is 8 games (March 2009).
- Giroux, however, is not alone: Hartnell, Read, Wayne Simmonds, and Max Talbot are all in search for their first point as well.
- Steve Mason notched his first win of the season making 33 saves on 34 shots.
- The two goals scored by the Flyers tonight is their season high.
- Flyers went 5-5 on their penalty kill.
The Flyers will look to make it two in a row on Friday night when they face the Phoenix Coyotes.