October 10, 2015
I haven’t been to the BB&T Center, but it has always appeared like one of the darker arenas in the NHL on television (Madison Square Garden is the leader in this subjective category, by the way). Regardless of the arena lighting, the Flyers couldn’t get started in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday night.
In their opener, the Florida Panthers started fast and sailed to a 7-1 win. Here’s what I saw:
1. It’s difficult to imagine a worse opening seven minutes for the Flyers. Like, it would be surprising if they experience a stretch so damaging at any point again this season. At least we saw some history tonight: The Panthers’ four goals in the first 6:46 marked the quickest four-goal deficit in franchise history. More importantly, the game was over almost as soon as it started.
There were a bunch of reasons for the huge hole that the Flyers found themselves in: a couple of bad penalties in the neutral zone, blown coverages on the penalty kill, the Panthers flying out of the gates, but mostly…
2. Steve Mason had a really rough night. The first goal was due to poor rebound control on a bouncing puck fluttered in from center ice. The second goal was a wrister on the power play that beat Mason clean. The third goal was a sweet move where the penalty kill was more at fault. And the fourth goal, the cherry on top, was set up by an embarrassing turnover from the goalie. He was then pulled by Dave Hakstol in favor of Michal Neuvirth.
Mason didn’t give the Flyers a chance to win tonight, which is rare. Chalk it up to one bad game.
3. As mentioned, the Flyers’ penalty kill was in 2014-15 form. That’s not good, and the Panthers went 3-7 with the man advantage. Particularly on Reilly Smith’s first-period goal, the coverage looked out of sorts. It also didn’t help that Brandon Manning and Evgeny Medvedev took frustration penalties late.
4. Can Claude Giroux play cornerback for the Eagles? (GIF via @BradyTrett)
Claude Giroux rocks Dave Bolland. pic.twitter.com/ctAoiCaVGv— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) October 11, 2015
5. The goal here is to generally stick to the Flyers, but how good is Jaromir Jagr? He scored two goals, led the Panthers in Corsi, and was generally excellent. Jags has been in the news a lot lately, whether it was giving the Heisman stiff arm to blackmailers or bringing back his famous mullet. He might not make it all the way 51 like Gordie Howe, but Jagr’s crazy work ethic still have him playing at a high level at 43 years old.
The Flyers weren’t good, but nothing went their way tonight. Check out the Strombone man’s work here (GIF via @BradyTrett):
Is Roberto Luongo for real? Three straight unreal saves. Wow. pic.twitter.com/MTuSz2sxdS— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) October 11, 2015
They should plenty motivated to play this same Panthers team in their own home opener on Monday. The puck should drop a little after 7:00 p.m. in South Philly. We’ll be there.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann