Flyers

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Flyers

BOX SCORE

The Flyers took out their sins from a bad home opener on the Senators.

The top line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek produced four goals in a 7-4 win.

The Flyers lost yet another forward to injury, and how did Cal Pickard perform in his first game with his new team?

Here are my observations:

• I expected the Flyers to come out with an extra dose of excitement and enthusiasm a day after they were shellacked, 8-2, in their home opener. However, some early penalties and special teams certainly zapped that momentum. Still, the Flyers’ power play was buzzing. Wayne Simmonds nearly banged home a goal in the first few minutes of the game, and the unit finally got on track with a pair of goals on a whopping 20 shots on six opportunities.

• Andrew MacDonald has had a brutal first week of the season and you have to wonder if he’s playing at less than 100 percent considering how quickly he returned from injury. However, as long as MacDonald is in the lineup, he’s open to criticism and he’s been slow and a step behind in his own zone almost every game in allowing attackers to get behind him on defense. For MacDonald, staying on his skates appears to be a challenge right now.

• The Flyers’ penalty kill gave the Senators too much time in the zone as it sat back in its box rather than get out challenge the point like we saw during the two-game road trip to begin the season. The greatest contributor to the PK’s problems was a failure to clear the puck out of the zone, and that’s precisely what led to the Ottawa goal as Travis Sanheim whiffed on a clearing attempt. In the third period, Sanheim struggled to clear the puck out of the defensive zone.

 

• It’s impressive how quickly 19-year-old Brady Tkachuk has adapted to the NHL game and the poise he possesses with and without the puck. Tkachuk’s second goal was a wrist shot down the right wing. While Sanheim had good position on Tkachuk, it’s a play he has to defend by getting his stick on the puck. Otherwise, he shields goaltender Pickard from getting a clean look at the shot.

• Already without James van Riemsdyk, Flyers second-line center Nolan Patrick left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury on a play that looks like he may have suffered a head or neck injury. Last season, Patrick sustained a concussion in October and missed nearly a month as he recovered from symptoms. Scott Laughton was the recipient of increased ice time and Laughton capitalized with the go-ahead 4-3 goal on a backhand shot. Quietly, Laughton has been one of the Flyers’ best forwards this season.

• The review on Pickard is that the Flyers’ backup goaltender is a battler, never quitting on any play throughout his Flyers debut. While Pickard may be a little unsteady in his positioning (not unexpected considering this was only his second NHL game since the beginning of 2017-18), he settled in over the course of the night and provided some big saves as the Flyers yielded the middle of the ice on occasion.

• Dave Hakstol’s move to replace Jordan Weal with Dale Weise payed off. In his first game of the new season, Weise played a solid, well-rounded game that included strong play on pucks and help to create offense with a pair of assists. With Patrick’s injury, we should see Weal back in the lineup. But I would move Laughton back in the middle. 

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