By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
The Flyers start the season eager to ice the new lineup. While the roster decision caused a stir, at the end of the day it wasn’t nearly as bad as expected.
First period: Brian Elliott with an early miscue after the puck bounced out of the corner. The fourth line, especially Laughton and Leier look great. Nolan Patrick seems like he fits right in with multiple strong shifts. Travis Konecny misses on a breakaway after breaking up the Sharks circle. Martin Jones poor puck handling leads to a turnover to Jake Voracek who sets up Claude Giroux for the first Flyers goal of the season.
Weal strikes three minutes later on the power play, sneaking a puck behind Jones, the same way he scored many of his goals last season. Brian Elliott was playing very erratically, which leads to the Sharks first goal by Kevin Labanc. A Brandon Manning penalty leads to another Sharks goal after a failed clear by the penalty killers. Worth noting Leier and Laughton had the Sharks pinned in their own zone during that power play. overall assessment is solid so far except Brian Elliott.
Second period: Sharks open the period strong pinning the Flyers in their zone leading to a Hagg penalty. Laughton and Leier continue to be strong on the PK. Flyers were still pinned in their zone after the Sharks powerplay was over. Claude Giroux, as well as Couturier and Voracek all look driven to make big plays. The overall pace of the game slowed down around the midway point. A MacDonald penalty again gave Laughton time to shine on the PK.
Brent Burns turns the puck over to Couturier who was robbed by Martin Jones in front. Elliott had a great save of his own on Labanc after a beautiful setup from Joe Thornton. Kevin Labanc takes a slashing penalty and immediately pays for it as Gostisbehere blasts one from the point and thanks to a Simmonds screen gives the Flyers the lead. Brian Elliott makes a sprawling save on Joel Ward late in the period. Gudas takes a late interference penalty, but the Sharks fail to capitalize before the period ends.
Third period: Sharks opened the period on the powerplay which is killed off by the Flyers. Konecny trips DeMelo awkwardly into the boards for a penalty that Logan Couture eventually capitalizes on after it deflects off MacDonald’s leg into the net. Weise and Couturier both threw big hits around the midpoint. Labanc gets called for tripping Patrick and the Flyers again immediately capitalize as Voracek blasts one on net that is redirected by Wayne Simmonds. To this point the Flyers were 3 for 3 on the powerplay for a grand total of 1 minute and 10 seconds.
Multiple close calls for Konecny, Laughton, Weal and Voracek. Pavelski high-sticks Weise to put the Flyers on the powerplay that is canceled moments later after Gudas gets called for boarding. Simmonds pots one in the open net for the hat trick and the Flyers win the game 5-3.
Overall a strong showing from the Flyers, the forward depth is noticeable with no real weak spots in the lineup. Brian Elliott clamed down as the game went on and finished with 32 saves.
Three stars of the game:
3) Shayne Gostisbehere- 3 Assists
2) Jake Voracek – 3 Assists
1) Wayne Simmonds- 3 Goals
photo credit: Bob Fina via insidehockey.com