Buffalo Sabres-Philadelphia Flyers Preview
Philadelphia played well in the final two periods of their contest versus Pittsburgh, but a slow start doomed them. An empty net goal finished off Philadelphia, and a 3-1 final started the Flyers season on a sour note. Newly crowned captain Claude Giroux picked up right where he left off in May, and netted his first goal of the season on a beautiful saucer pass from linemate Scott Hartnell. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov started off his season on a good note, saving 24 of 26 shots in an attempt to prove he deserved the massive contract Philadelphia gave him two summers ago. Despite concerns that his Achilles was not fully healed, Andrej Meszaros played an incredibly solid game, and was second among defenseman in most minutes played. His health, as well as that of fellow blueliner Kimmo Timonen will affect the success of this team.
In hopes of getting their first win, the Flyers travel to Buffalo for their first of six back-to-back games of the season. Unlike most teams, Buffalo’s season opener is on Sunday in a 12:30 matinee on NBC. They’ll look to get off to a hot start at the First Niagara Center, a place they were 21-12-8 at last year.
The Sabres offense is led by Jason Pomenville, who was tops on the team in goals, assists, and points. Steve Ott, acquired in July from the Dallas Stars, provides Buffalo with depth at the center position, as well as a good offensive contributor. And of course, the Sabres have top goalie Ryan Miller between the pipes, who is entering his 10th year with the club. Last year the netminder for the US National team was 31-21-7 with a GAA of 2.54, and posted six shutouts. Philadelphia will certainly have a tough time jump-starting an offense that was 0-5 on the power play versus Pittsburgh, but will look to Giroux to lead the team once again.
Expect another game to come down to the wire tomorrow.
Jake Pavorsky is a contributor for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JakePavorsky