Flyers win 3-1 in Pittsburgh last night. Good win for the Flyboys, who had dropped four of their last six games. I unfortunately was dead tired last night and missed most of the game, however I was fortunate enough to see them take a two goal lead on some very STRONG forechecking. The way the team played when I got the chance to see them last night was much like how they were playing earlier in the season, which means that they had a very good transition game, were able to keep the puck of out of their zone, and most importantly that attacking the zone mindset. Both their strong play in transition and the attacking mindset that they had, they were able to get up 2-0.
If I was a Penguins fan, I'd be very upset with Michel Therrien, who continued with goaltender Sabourin, instead of starting Fleury. Granted, he did shut out the Devils the other night, but let's face it, the Flyers are more offensively talented and know how to put pucks in the net. Not only that, but Marc-Andre Fleury was 8-0 against the Flyers last season. Career wise he's 10-3 with a 2.74 goals-against average in 14 career appearances. Considering Fleury's past history against the Flyers, I think Therrien made the wrong choice, and it clearly shows now after a Penguins loss.
How great is Mike Richards playing right now? He's playing phenomenal. Obviously the best forward on the ice for the team, night in and night out, and right now, shift after shift. It's to the point where the other team immediately recognizes him on the ice. I cannot say enough about how much he has improved from last year. I mean even the intensity that he bought last season has upped significantly, something that I didn't think was possible until I've seen him play lately. I was skeptical with all the hype around him too. I thought it was too soon to be naming the Flyers' next captain, and even giving him an A this year. But my opinion has changed. He must really be a force in the locker room as well, especially for the young guys. As I stated before, the intensity he brings on each shift is quite noticiable. Obviously the Flyers coaching staff and organization see the same thing as well. I give them credit with giving him the responsibility to lead the team not only this year, but in the upcoming years. Kudos.
Tonight the Flyers face the Devils in the new Prudential Center. I believe that this is the home opener for the Devils in the new arena. (If I'm wrong, someone please let me know). And what any other way would the Devils like to start a new era in their history than have a team which has struggled in their previous home, the Continental Arena, so much so that they're last win in New Jersey was in 2004?
I agree with Jon Palmieri, STATS senior writer, when he says that "No team is happier to see the New Jersey Devils move into a new arena than the Philadelphia Flyers." The complete domination of the Flyers in the Continental Arena has been amazing to me. Especially when they've only won five times in 28 appearences in that place since the 1996-1997 season.
I'm hoping the Flyers come out strong like they did last night. If they are able to play the way they did against the Devils like the first time around, it should go their way. Although, you never know when you have to face Martin Brodeur in net. All in all, it should be a good game.