Man, coming out of Boston with a check-mark in the win column was great. Especially since it was the night of their banner raising ceremony and home opener.
And how fantastic did it feel watching Bryzgalov stone all 20 shots on goal in Jersey's barn against our division rivals?
We're quite the rain on teams' parades this early in the schedule. But now with the Flyers returning home for the first time in the 2011-12 season, we have the mighty Canucks looking to flip that reputation around on us and create a cloud of doubt above the roof of the Wells Fargo Center.
Make no mistake, my friends, this Vancouver squad was once broken hearted and in shambles after a difficult Game 7 Stanley Cup loss to the Bean-Eaters. But now that a new season's risen from the city's ashes (pun intended), you can bet they're thirsty to make it back where they believe they rightfully belong. And that means stomping the competition along the way.
The puck firing onslaught that the Canucks skate on to the ice demands immediate respect from their opposition. There is very little room for error and even lesser mistakes given away to capitalize on.
They employ a set of twins who have taken the Western Conference by storm points-wise, and only two games into their season, they look to do it again with a combined six points (1-pt per period, thus far).
Say what you want about the greasy haired fellow between the Vancouver steel, but he displays brilliance in net far more often than looking sheepish.
The blue line lost some nameplates over the off-season, however the ability to cut the heads off chances prior to entering their zone still remains one of the best in the league.
Here we sit, on our orange and black pedestal, undefeated in 120 minutes of ice hockey. Our netminder's allowed one goal in six periods, and has blanked the threatening headway for five of them. We have a rookie on the rise, a PK looking great, and a star on a streak. Bring on these.....fish from the west.
Success has a tendency to stem from it an arrogance which could breakdown the fundamental approach to continue itself. In order to remain unbeaten, our Philadelphia Flyers will need to stick to simple, yet very crucial principles.
I mentioned the Sedin twins. They fill two roster spots on the Canucks' first line. Their first two scoring lines are scary great, capable of turning the game around in seconds. Puck possession for the Flyers is a must-win battle. Keep that rubber disc off the blades of Vancouver as often as possible.
There are a few ways to accomplish this. One of which is winning over the neutral zone. That includes limiting our turnovers and capitalizing on theirs, poke checks, face-offs (a major weakness so far for the Flyers), knocking the opponent off the puck, and being aggressive without being TOO aggressive.
And speaking of too aggressive; Discipline cannot be emphasized enough. Good news for us is that Vancouver's only had seven power-play opportunities in their two matches. From those opportunities, the Canucks have scored only one power-play goal.
Since our boys have a tendency to commit penalties often (10 TSH), it's good to know Vancouver hasn't had too much experience on the man-advantage. And haven't capitalized except once, no less.
Still, like I mentioned before, this opponent can breakout at any moment. They could go on a PPG clinic, burning one or a dozen through Bryzgalov's net in the blink of an eye. All you have to do is make a mistake and the Canucks will feverishly feed off of it.
There's no question that passing has gotten a lot stronger for the Bullies this season. Crossing the blue line and into the Canucks zone will happen more often than the dump & chase we've grown to hate. Once our chances are set up on Vancouver ice, try and beat Luongo from the screen.
We have players like Simmonds and Hartnell who have no problems camping outside the goal crease. This is good. But I want more.
Take a look at this nifty goal-scored by (who else?) Matt Cooke in the season opening game....
No one was more surprised to see that puck nest behind Luongo than Cooke. It was probably a wrist shot put on net to open up a rebounding chance. Nevertheless, it went in.
Roberto had his d-man, Kevin Bieksa, blocking Cooke's movement as he crossed through the point. Cooke sent the puck packing low and under Luongo's radar. Not exactly what you'd expect from the Cookie Monster, but it's effective.
When chances are setup in the offensive zone (especially on the power-play), it'd be in the Flyers best interest to pass the puck around and take advantage of a skater trying to re-position himself while simultaneously taking Luongo's vision off the puck.
Put that damn thing on net. Pepper Luongo like he's a McLaury brother at the O.K. Corral. At the end of the night when he undresses, it should look like he went through a paddling party in a Frat house with all the bruises scattered on his upper body.
Force Luongo to make the saves early, and the goals will come later.
Until tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen.