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Flyers Downed 3-1 in Opener to Penguins
- Updated: January 20, 2013
Philadelphia, PA – Hockey is back in North America. The rivalry between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is back to normal. The Pens came into Philly with a lot more energy and grabbed an early 2-0. The Flyers looked flat to start the game and had a tough time running their offense. At times, the Flyers looked disorganized. Philadelphia struggled with its special teams as well. The first goal of the game was on a power play by the Penguins and the Flyers only registered two shots on their own two power plays. After the 1st period, Philadelphia trailed 2-0 and were out shot 11-6.
The Flyers changed the tone in the 2nd period, as newly appointed captain Claude Giroux found the back of net 23 seconds into the period. The goal was set up by a brilliant cross ice pass from Scott Hartnell that Giroux one-timed past a sliding Marc-Andre Fleury. The goal lifted the crowd and brought a new energy to the Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia looked like a completely different team. They all seemed to communicate a lot better. and they made a lot less turnovers on offense. The Flyers pushed hard to knot the game up, but came up short several times. They did end the 2nd period with an edge on the ice and in the stats as they out shot Pittsburgh 11-8.
Philadelphia did control most of the 3rd, but just could not find the back of the net. Mid-way through the period, Giroux found himself with a one-on-one with Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, but the play was whistled off-sides. The replay showed Giroux and puck entering the offensive zone at the same time (Editors Note: Giroux was clearly offside). Philadelphia’s best chances came on two late 3rd period power plays, but the team came up short and were held scoreless. During the 2nd power play, Flyers’ coach Laviolette pulled Ilya Bryzgalov from goal so Philly would have a two-man advantage. This quickly ended as Giroux was called for tripping. Philadelphia, in a last ditch effort, played Bryzgalov to even out the numbers but the Penguins took advantage of the situation and scored an empty net goal with 12 seconds left in the game.
After the final horn, it was 3-1 to Pittsburgh in a game that could have gone either way. The Flyers have a quick turn around as they head to Buffalo for a 12:30 PM game Sunday. Overall the team has a lot of rust on it and the first stretch of games will be a tough task. Philadelphia will play seven games in 11 days. On the bright side, Philadelphia is very young team and they will recover faster than the average team.
Philadelphia returns home to the Wells Fargo Center Thursday Jan. 24th to face the New York Rangers after a stop over in New Jersey to play the Devils on Tuesday. Last season, the Devils knocked both the Flyers and Rangers out of the playoffs and lost to the LA Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.