The Philadelphia Flyers have played a couple bad games so far in this shortened season. Fortunately, last night, was not one of those games. In addition to picking up their first win of the season, despite being without Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell for the entire game and defenseman Andrej Meszaros for the third period of the contest, the Flyers also exorcised a demon that haunted them all of last season.
It wasn’t just that the Flyers beat the Rangers last night, something they were not able to do at all last season (they posted an 0-6-1 record against them last season), it was the way in which they beat them. The Flyers used an all around outstanding offensive effort, Ilya Bryzgalov’s stellar play (18 saves on 19 shots) and some good old fashioned fighting and physical play to notch that first win. In essence, they finally played the way the Flyers are supposed to play.
Goals from Wayne Simmonds and Jacob Voracek solved the mystery that had been Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers stand out goalie. The fact they only got two past Lundqvist spoke to the stellar play of Bryzgalov, the oft-maligned Flyers net minder.
The win did not come without a price however, as Andrej Meszaros sustained a shoulder injury and will miss A month. That injury will deplete an already suspect Flyers defense. Andreas Lilja will take Meszaros’ spot on the roster. The team also announced that Winger Scott Hartnell, coming off the best season of his career, will miss 4-8 weeks with a broken bone in his foot.
In order to fill Hartnell’s spot on the roster, the Flyers will turn to a familiar face in 40 year old Mike Knuble. Knuble enjoyed personal success in his first tour with the Flyers from 2004-09. Knuble’s presence should add veteran leadership to the locker room, as well as some on-ice skill. While Knuble is not what he used to be, he is still an adequate player in the NHL.
One win does not a season make, but at least the monkey is off the Flyers back. In a short season, every game is important. At 1-3-0, the Flyers have a lot of work to do.