Extra, Extra, READ All About It, Rookies Run Amok Sens 7 - 2
Tuesday night the youthful feel of the Flyers appeared. The youngest members of the orange and black shined brightly, accounting for 7 points, as the rejuvenated Flyers toppled the Senators 7-2.
The Flyers came into Tuesday’s matchup with the Binghamton, ahem, excuse me, Ottawa, Senators looking to improve upon team discipline. After a disappointing loss to the LA Kings, the orange and black pack was looking to reduce their number of trips to the sin bin. Something that, ultimately, cost them the game on Saturday night.
The first period started out a bit slow for the marauders in the road colors. After an extremely slow feeling out segment, impressive rookie, Matt Read, flashed down the right wing. He fired an unassuming wrister towards Ottawa’s twine sitter, Alex Auld. Auld was caught cheating towards the middle of the ice, and the shot ricocheted off his back and into the net, 1-0 Flyers. Only a mere 27 seconds later Ottawa’s Zack Smith was called for boarding. That brought the highly anticipated Flyers power play striding onto the ice. After a Simmonds induced scrum in front of the net, the powerful winger found himself alone in the high slot with puck on stick. He ripped the disc past a down and out Auld to bring the score to 2-0, good guys. The Flyers dominated the remainder of the first and the score ended a resounding 4-0, Flyers.
Confidence was high entering the second stanza. The Flyers would look to continue the dominant play from the first. But not so fast. The Senators, obviously motivated by their coach, Paul MacLean’s tremendous ‘stache, began firing on all cylinders. This was the scene far too often last season. When the Flyers would establish dominance early in a contest, they failed to deliver the death blow to their opponents, allowing them to claw their way back into the tilt.
Alas, this seemed as if it were going to be the case on Tuesday night. The Senators carried the play, pushing the orange and black wave back like a red breakwater. The Flyers began to take penalties at an alarming rate, all started off by PIM machine Matt Walker’s 4 minute double minor for high sticking.
After much scrambling, the Flyers mounted a very impressive penalty kill, snubbing Ottawa’s 3rd ranked power play on a lengthy 5 on 3. The Senators managed to cash in when the captain, Daniel Alfredsson, duffed his centering pass, and then re-gathered his failed attempt to hit a cutting Jason Spezza. Spezza potted his second of the season past Sergei Bobrovsky. “Bob” as he is known in Philadelphia’s hockey lore, was outstanding in the second frame. He didn’t face much work in the first (3 shots) but found the lion’s share of the chances coming his way. He repelled the Senator’s bids one after another. Were it not for Bobrovsky, the tide could have changed more dramatically than it did.
Coming into the third and final frame, the Flyers were looking to re-establish their dominance from the opening period. After back and forth play through much of the period, the Flyers finally stopped hitting the snooze button and arose from their Snow White-like slumber. Like a kiss from prince charming, an errant David Rundblad clearance, that gave him two minutes for delay of game, sparked the slumbering giant into their dominance once again. With the man advantage, James van Riemsdyk established himself in front of the net and re-directed a Kimmo Timonen blast to make the count 5-1, Flyers.
Not even a minute later, highly touted youngster, Sean Couturier, netted his first of the season. After setting up shop in the slot, he received a great pass from Matt Read, he didn’t miss, 6-1. Not to be outdone, recent call up, Harry Zolnierczyk, made a nifty move on the Senators net minder and lifted a backhander that bulged the twine for the seventh time of the evening.
Erik Karlsson added a garbage goal towards the end of regulation. I only mention this because.....
I keed, I keed.
Looking at the box score you would think this was a lopsided contest from start to finish. In reality, the Flyers played a brilliant 25 minutes, and hung on for the remainder of the tilt. Penalties were again a concern, albeit 16 minutes of their 25 were from Matt Walker (10 for fighting). Against a beleaguered Senators squad, their skill ultimately prevailed.
This cannot be a trend against some of the top talent in the NHL. As we witnessed Saturday evening, penalties could be the downfall of this highly talented Flyers team. One good thing is, it’s far too early in the season to hit the penalty panic button just yet. But it will certainly be something bench boss Peter Laviolette will address going forward.
I would be remiss if I didn’t gush over talented rookie, Matt Read’s performance. The 25-year-old Bemidji State alumni, showed speed, skill, and hockey sense well beyond his years. It is no wonder that Flyers head brass was not hesitant to award the former Beaver a spot on the big club. Bucky is certainly proud, Matt, as is the rest of orange and black nation. Keep up the good work, kid.
As for the rest of the battalion, march on orange soldiers, the force is certainly strong with this team. The Fly guys face a huge test as the Eastern Conference favorite, Washington Capitals, try to invade our soil. Dig the trenches, lock up the kids, and get your game face on, lads. It’s going to be a war on Thursday night.
I am ready. Are you?
Until next time…..Let’s Go Flyers!!!!!!!