“Are you ready for some hockey?”
The question echoed throughout the Wells Fargo Center, as the Philadelphia Flyers opened their season with a 3-1 loss against none other than the division rival Pittsburgh Penguins. Loyal Flyers fans were more than ready, but for the first few minutes, the Flyers weren’t. Here are some significant storylines from today’s opener.
The Flyers’ first several minutes of the game were spent killing penalties and trying to hang on defensively. Unfortunately, the Penguins took advantage of the Flyers slow start, scoring on two of their first five shots. A slow start during an afternoon game? Huh, sounds very familiar. If the Flyers started the game off with the right tempo, they wouldn’t have been in such a hole throughout the contest.
Scott Laughton impresses in debut
18-year old Laughton stepped onto the ice for the first time in his life on Saturday. He certainly didn’t blow any minds, but he was impressive. Laughton saw 17 shifts and over 12 minutes of ice time. He was physical (as expected), kept many plays alive and finished his hits strong. Defensively, Laughton was very sound, which makes sense because defense is an area he takes pride in. These first five games are crucial for Laughton but head coach Peter Laviolette was impressed.
“I thought he [Laughton] played a strong game,” Laviolette said. “He was responsible defensively and had about four or five good hits. He was strong on puck battles and had a couple opportunities at the net. I thought he did a nice job. It’s a tough situation to come into for a young kid, first game in Philadelphia but I thought he played well.”
Don’t get me wrong, the Flyers certainly had their chances to win this hockey game. However, a dismal 0-5 on the powerplay played a factor in the loss. While the Flyers certainly have tremendous puck-movers on their powerplay unit, a little too much time was spent looking for an extra cute pass, rather than peppering goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with shots.
The Flyers will look to get into the win column on Sunday afternoon, as they hit the road to take on the Buffalo Sabres.