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Last night's game has many people already wondering, "What went wrong?" And I am pleased to remind people--it's only Game One.
Though Boston fans have come to expect to win every game after that Stanley Cup playoff run, the truth is, it's not going to happen. Thursday night's matchup with the Flyers was pretty on-par with what people should have expected. Both teams were looking to get their legs back underneath them, and fortunately for the Flyers, a couple of late goals in the first period was the difference in the game.
Is there room to improve? Without a doubt. There shouldn't be any excuses for losing the game, but they aren't beating themselves up over it, nor should they be. While they know there is a lot of work to be done, there are a couple things about last night's game that should give Bruins fans even more hope this season.
The first goal last night from Brad Marchand should have relieved the minds of Marchand-nay-sayers. After a mediocre preseason, Marchand came out in the first game looking just as impressive as he had left the playoffs. He had a number of opportunities on Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, but only one slipped by. Bryzgalov even said after the game, he was just hoping Marchand hit his pads and he'd get lucky.
Fans should also note, that goal came on the power play. It didn't take long for fans to jump on that bad-power-play bandwagon again (I mean, after last post season, I don't know if anyone can really blame them), but seriously, scoring the first goal on the power play should mean something. Also note who got the assists--Tyler Seguin and new defenseman Joe Corvo. That in my mind should be an instant breath of fresh air--Corvo making a name for himself on the power play and moving the puck around to make good things happen.
Now, did he do much the rest of the game? No. Did anyone? Not really. But again, tonight was a night of closure for the team, and I think you'll see coming into Saturday's game, you will find a more focused and ready team.
So take heart, Bruins fans, and don't be too discouraged. Remember, last year the Bruins lost their first game too.
Despite a last minute effort by the Bruins to tie up the game with under 2 minutes to play in the game, it was the Flyers that took him the victory in Game One of the new season, 2-1 over the Stanley Cup Champions.
The opening ceremonies however did not disappoint as the banner was raised and the cup lifted in front of the faithful Boston fans on home ice. It was an emotional thirty minutes before the game and one that really helped the team put some closure on last season and enter into the new one set before them.
"Yeah, I mean we knew coming into tonight that we were going to get emotional," Bruins forward Tyler Seguin said. "I actually kind of thought it was more emotional than I would have thought but it’s just about finding that switch to get into game mode and turn the page. But I think we started off well and it didn’t end with us with a win but it’s nice to get tonight out of the way."
The end of the first period proved to be the foundation the Flyers needed to build the victory that alluded them back in the playoffs against the Bruins last year. With two goals late in the period though, the Bruins couldn't fight their way back this time.
However, for the first half of the first period, the Bruins showed little sign of rust, and in fact, were looking well put together considering the short off season.
The B's didn't take long and scored nine minutes into the game at the hands of Brad Marchand, but it was the Flyers response in the last minute of that period that gave Philadelphia a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission and eventual win.
Philadelphia's first goal started with Claude Giroux being taken down in front of Thomas. Though he slid in between the pipes, he managed to still slide the puck in the net with 50 seconds left to go. Just 47 seconds later, Jakub Voracek netted the eventual game winning goal, leaving the Bruins a bit dumbfounded heading into the locker room after one period of play.
"Well obviously you’re not too happy about it," Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said. "Those late goals are frustrating, but there wasn’t any nervousness or anything. It’s a one-goal game. I think the thing was obviously we’re getting so few shots in the first period, we’d like to come out and at least get a few more in the second, which we didn’t. So that’s probably the disappointing part."
In fact, neither team capitalized in the second period, or in the third--but they came close.
Bruins forward Brad Marchand had a number of opportunities that just missed the back of the net, including a pick-pocket of Chris Pronger and a wrister to the high glove side. Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov kept his team in it, stopping 22-of-23 shots he faced including that one.
"He's got pretty good speed, and pretty much I was like, 'what can I do?'" Bryzgalov said. "I just waited and hoped he hit me in the pad or with the puck in the glove. And he did it, he put the puck in the glove. It was lucky like I said."
Whether it was his luck of skill that kept the Bruins out of the net for the rest of the game, the Bruins sit on their first loss of the season and look forward to Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning to get the ball rolling.
"[Moving on] is part of the game obviously," Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. "Like I said, it's something we were part of but now it's behind us and now we're focusing on what's ahead of us."
Marchand (1) from Peverley, Corvo at 9:43 of 1st period.
By Biz Jacobs, Contributor.
Event: Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers.
Date/Time: Thursday, October 6, 2011 - 7 p.m. EDT.
Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 17,565), Boston, Massachusetts.
Broadcast Info: Thursday's game between the Bruins and Flyers will be broadcast live on VERSUS. The game can also be heard on the 98.5 the Sports Hub Radio Network, with Dave Goucher providing play-by-play, and Bob Beers providing analysis.
Season Series: This will be the first of four games between these two teams, and it comes at the best time--the first game of the 2011-2012 season for both clubs.
Storyline: After a successful preseason, the Bruins will look to make their first game as reigning Stanley Cup Champions a step in the right direction for the rest of the season--and with the amount of players the Bruins have returning, it has the potential to be a very large step. The Black and Gold are completely healthy, with Nathan Horton, Tuukka Rask and Milan Lucic all recovering over the summer, and the rest of them eager to turn the page and enter into a new chapter--or perhaps a sequel.
One of the biggest storylines going into the season was the worry of a Stanley Cup hangover for the party-hard Bruins. It has been a long time since any team has won the Cup two consecutive years. Partially because the salary cap has made it so teams are more balanced and capable of obtaining talent, but also the hard rigors of an entire playoff run paired with a short offseason filled with celebrations and shenanigans generally doesn't match a 4-month rested, hungry team.
However, the Bruins are determined to shake any notion of a Hangover, and do so against of their biggest contenders--the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers will play the Bruins for the first time since the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, where they fell in four straight games to the eventual champions. Now, with a new goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov between the pipes as well as seasonedJaromir Jagr and new captain Chris Pronger, the Flyers are seeking vengeance and look like they have the firepower to do some damage.
Players To Watch: For Boston, keep an eye on Tim Thomas in net. Due to the astounding numbers he put up last year in the regular season and in the playoffs, all eyes are on him coming into this game. Though there are many that say he can't outperform his last year's heroics (which would be tough to do), Thomas himself said it would be a challenge, but one he's up for.
The Flyers are going to have to put the puck in the back of the net if they hope to come out with a win. Trying to do that in the first game of the season is tough, but trying to do that first game of the season against last year's Conn Smythe and Vezina Trophy winner is even tougher. That being said, James van Riemsdyk will once again be in the scopes of the Bruins, as he was one of the only players last year to have some effectiveness against Thomas. van Riemsdyk signed a 6-year deal in the offseason with the Flyers, so look for his productivity on the ice to soar.
Prediction: It's going to be close, and no doubt the gloves will drop at some point, but in the end, the Bruins are the Stanley Cup champions, and I can't see them losing the first game at home. Final Score: Bruins 4, Flyers 2.
If you're expecting to see a bunch of hockey players skating around like they're on top of the world, then you'll be disappointed. While the Boston Bruins are coming off their first Stanley Cup title since 1972, the focus in the locker room is on the season at hand, which begins on Thursday night at TD Garden against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sure, the B's will be raising their championship banner tonight, and it will be a special moment. However, Brad Marchand and the rest of the Bruins are staying focused on their new task: winning another Stanley Cup.
"The ways the guys have come in so far, no one's overconfident because everyone has been [warned] about the Cup hangover," [Marchand] said. "Guys seem very aware of it and it just seems like everyone's focused to come in and try to prove that all wrong. We've got a nice little swagger about us, but at the same time we've got a lot of confidence but we're very aware of our situation." (via WEEI)
The long-awaited day is finally here. For the first time since Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, the Boston Bruins return to the ice to host the Philadelphia Flyers in the season opener at TD Garden, and they'll raise a banner before it.