“The morning after” is a review of the previous night’s Flyers’ game which, in theory, provides a more objective perspective on the game.
The Flyers have been gambling with their goaltenders for years. So, it really shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the team decided to roll the dice and put Sergei Bobrovsky, their untested goalie prospect, in net last night against one of the most elite teams in the East, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Bobrovsky played well throughout camp and likely won the start over Brian Boucher when he played soundly in relief of Johan Backlund in a 9-3 route by the Buffalo Sabres. It was his toughest challenge of the preseason, as the Sabres had their full complement of players dressed. Coupled with the fact that Boucher is 5-4-2 with a .880 SV% and a 3.17 GAA against Pittsburgh all time, Bobrovsky apparently emerged as the clear choice for coach Peter Laviolette.
It’s a gamble I wouldn’t have taken but it paid off well for the Flyers. They opened their season, Bobrovsky’s NHL career, and the CONSOL Energy Center with a 3-2 victory over the Penguins.
Bobrovsky carried the team on his back in the first period and benefited from a few hit posts through the following two periods. As the announcers mentioned during the game, playing an unknown goalie is akin to starting an unknown pitcher. The opposing team does not have a thorough scouting report on him. This worked to Bobrovsky’s advantage and it will be interesting to see how he fares down the road when teams know how to expose his weaknesses.
Danny Briere started the scoring with a stunning deflection early in the second period. Blair Betts bookended the period when he buried the puck into the empty half of the net. After Tyler Kennedy potted one for the Penguins, Claude Giroux, who had an ankle X-ray after the game, scored a beautiful shorthanded goal that became the eventual game winner for the Flyers.
Alex Goligoski also scored for the Penguins.
Neither team dominated last night’s game and the Flyers’ defense was particularly shaky at points.
Some quick notes:
- Nikolay Zherdev only played 11:26 of the game and had one shot and one giveaway.
- Despite only having one hit, Braydon Coburn was physical after a few whistles and will hopefully be carrying that edge over from the preseason. He lead the team in blocked shots with three.
- The first line was invisible last night and Jeff Carter whiffed on the opportunity to net an easy goal. He, Mike Richards, and Dan Carcillo, were the only Flyers to finish with a minus rating.
- Down the road, I think that we’ll see van Riemsdyk promoted to the first line and Carcillo will skate with Giroux and Zherdev.