Flyers Start Out Like That Hot-From-Far Babe at the Beach, Lose 3 - 1 >

by Michael DeNicola

Thursday, October 3, 2013 --

Last night's game began a lot like a day at the beach and you see a beautiful young woman from afar walking out of the ocean in her two-piece bathing suit. You like what you're seeing, but as she comes more and more into focus, you start noticing slight imperfections. These imperfections become bounteous deformities. She's got a face like Walter Matthau sucking on a lemon, and her cleavage looks like a rubber chicken. You discover the sunlight has long since been her friend, for all it does is expose cheap tattoos in odd spots of her body; if there's one unwritten rule about getting ink, it follows the same guidelines as buying real estate.... location, location, LOCATION. In this gal's case, she's got flames running up her neck that have been so sun-beaten that they look like a venerable pancake resting on top of her clavicle.

By the time she's a foot away from you, you're so disappointed that you go back to your wet sandcastle.

In the 1st period, our Flyers controlled the tempo. They came outta the gates hot and ready to make an early statement. Despite throwing a flood of shots on Jonathan Bernier's net, the ex-King put on a puck-stopping clinic which matched the high offensive from the orange & black. 

It wasn't until the closing seconds when third-year winger Brayden Schenn tucked away the team's first goal of the season, which happened on our fourth power play of the frame. 

Up to this point, the Flyers had succeeded being the possessive team. Though he spent the majority of the tilt shrouded in invisibility, Sean Couturier quietly won a high majority of his faceoffs which kept our puck-distribution lively. 

Outlet passes were effective and meeting tape rather than being overshot down ice to either be intercepted or conclude with an icing call. 

Our backchecking and zone defense formed a protective bubble around Mason's crease and the slot. Through the first 20-minutes, Toronto seemed to be forcing shots from the points and circles but with no luck. Blueliners like Grossmann, Meszaros and Streit stepped efficiently in front of pucks and sucked the momentum out of the Leafs' chances. 

Again, it was a promising 1st period. 

Coming out of the premier intermission, we began seeing Toronto acclimate to Laviolette's method. Checks became tighter. Our puck-handlers were met with more aggressive forechecking. The evolvement had not thrown us completely off our game, but it certainly established a balance between the two benches. 

This is where I began getting worried. I know that head coach Peter Laviolette is more often ineffective when his style is forced to expand outside his comfort zone. Our attack transitioned into an apprehensive game of 'Pin the Tail on the Donkey'. I saw our possession time shrink like a burger patty under a hot light. And speaking of which; our winning-percentage in the faceoff dot was contracting as the game grew forward. Aside from the draw efforts of Giroux (52.4) and Couturier (72.7), our success at the faceoff fell backward to its traditional miserableness. 

Toronto continued to hand us every chance to capitalize on. The Leafs went shorthanded a total of seven times in 60-minutes, and Philly lit one lamp throughout that procession. Considering the abundance in offensive talent, both forwards and blueliners, a modest 0.14 PP% is unacceptable. Especially when the 3rd ranked power play from 2012-13 was strengthened by so many offseason additions.

None of that is aimed to take any credibility away from Jonathan Bernier. Like I mentioned before, the 25-year old netminder deposited a brilliant performance between the pipes, stopping all 19 even-strength shots and allowing one goal on a total of 32-attempts against his net. 

Steve Mason executed an adequate effort when he wasn't hung out to dry on both of Dave Bolland's 3rd period goals. The third and final score against Mason came at the expense of Coburn's inability to clear the porch....

When the puck makes its way into our zone, Coburn chases the possession into the corner boards. Once he bumped his man off the rubber, Braydon began his sashay back to the slot. He was caught gazing at the play make its way to the point while Bolland sneakingly camped himself in Mason's crease. The rest goes into the history books, and Coburn is left looking like a deficient piece to our defensive puzzle. 

That play right there is one an example of our 3rd period woes. 

If this game serves as a window into the future, then the catch is this; we gotta hope our boys roll into the final stanza up by two or more goals. The past two seasons have only proven to me that Laviolette has trouble adjusting his squad to the opposition, and definitely when they hold the lead in the latter half of the match. This team is too gifted offensively to lose 3 - 1 games, but perhaps this outing will wind up as a rarity. I dunno, it's only the first of 82 rodeos.  

Let's see what's in store for Saturday's battle when we play host to the 0 - 1 Canadiens de Montréal.

Some final thoughts...

Jakub Voracek is seemingly still injured from his preseason collision. He skated from our third line alongside Sean Couturier and Max Talbot. If you didn't see their names in the box score, you'd never even know that combination had a shift last night. Let's cross our fingers Jake the Snake is healthy enough to attack from Giroux's right flank on Saturday. Our goal output depends on it this year. 

And to everyone's surprise, the Philadelphia Flyers finally decided to drop DOOP! as their goal song, and luckily for the lone stick of Brayden Schenn, we were gifted an opportunity to listen to the new tunes that'll echo through the hallways on every lit lamp....

The reaction on Twitter and Facebook wasn't good. Most believe it's not enough oomph, as if DOOP! proliferated goosebumps up and down each Flyers fan's arms, or something. 


'Bro Hymn' sucks, not to mention the song's been used by the Anaheim Ducks for eons. Let it go, mmmkay? The 2010 Philadelphia Flyers era is good and gone, and so is Pennywise. 

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