For those of you reading this, keep in mind I am a fan in the San Diego area, so all of my perspectives are from watching the games on television. Im saving up for the Olympics, therefore will not be able to attend any Flyer games in person this year. Hope you enjoy my take on tonights game:
Well the first game is in the books and we in Flyerdom have to be pretty happy to come away with two points from the shutout win in Carolina. Timing was a little off on one-timers and passing, but overall it was a good first game and a great way to start off the new season. Nice to finally see Pronger in the Orange and Black in a meaningful game.
Flyers dominated the period and there seemed a good effort by both the offense and defense. Cam Ward kept the Canes tied with some great goaltending and looks every bit worth the big contract he signed recently . He was especially good on a big save on Carter off some nice tic-tac-toe passing, a scrum in front off a Richards shot on the PP, and on JVR towards the end of the period. Emery looked solid in net and did not need to be spectacular.
Two quick power play goals by Carter and Richie within the first minute of the period. On the Richards goal, it was all started by a great rush by Carle with he and JVR out-numbering the Cane defensemen down low and hunting down the puck. Nice to see JVR get his first point in his first game. Overall I thought both he and Pyporala looked good and were effective. Following those two quick strikes the Flyers seemed to be back on their heels as the Canes took over for a couple minutes. Big save on Cole as he showed good speed going around Coburn. Hartnell took a bad interference penalty at the net. Emery bailed him out after an excellent 2-1 down low on the pk. Carcillo high sticking is obvious call, but the holding on Timonen was a very bad call. More on Timonen later.
Mostly played defending the lead as Carolina looked to get back into the game. IMO Flyers looks tired. Emery's best period of the night as the Flyers continue to take penalties - four in this period! Despite the apparent lack of energy and constant penalty killing situations, the Flyers D looked very well composed and there was none of the scrambling around in our end that has become a common sight over the past couple of years. Its amazing the calming effect Pronger brings to the team. Emery locks down the SO. Great way to begin his Flyer career.
I dont really want to get into the finger-pointing/whining/bashing of the refs, but there is one situation that really stood out to me. In the first period during the sequence when Carcillo took the boarding / fighting calls, the refs IMO really blew this one.
On that shift Carcillo had a chance to bury Brind'Amour behind the net like Kunitz did to Timmo last year in the playoffs. However, Carcillo pulled off for whatever reason only to take the bonehead boarding call. He was lucky to be given only a minor and not kicked out of the game. It was a stupid play on a player in a vulnerable position. On the ensuing fight, I dont understand why Gleason was given an instigator for sticking up for his teammate. Carcillo deserved to get his ass-whopped (both physically by the Canes and psychologically from his teammates), but instead was let off the hook by a bad call by the refs. The instigator penalty "even up'd" the teams and Carcillo probably didnt learn any lesson from the whole experience as his team was not short handed. This instigator call had a huge impact on the game as Gleason was not available during the two Flyer PP goals early in the second. Had Carcillo been given a major and automatic ejection, he would have put the Flyers in a difficult position early in the game and would have had a lot of time in the dressing room to think about the bad play.
My Best Flyer of the game goes to Kimmo Timonen. With respects to Razor and his shutout, Kimmo looked great out there tonight, had an active stick, and broke up many plays. Steady in his end and always plays with such composure. He and Pronger settle down the Flyers D whenever they are out there. He also had a nice play at the end of the game to preserve Emery's SO.
My Worst Flyer of the game is Dan Carcillo hands down! I realize he has "potential" and he has to play on the "edge", but he just does not appear to learn from his mistakes. Personally I'd much rather see Asham in the lineup. At least we'd have consistency. Carcillo took another penalty later in the game and I didnt see much from him in the third thankfully!
My Best Opponent of the Game goes to Eric Cole. He was flying out there and had a couple of very good scoring chances. Luckily for us he did not convert. Its good to see him looking like the Eric Cole before the neck injury.