It was a great weekend for NHL fans everywhere because for the first time since last June that NHL fans saw their team hit the ice. Some teams proved that the lockout didn't affect them and were able to start off on a high level, but others left with question marks after their games. Unfortunately for Flyers fans, the team that the love was one of the teams that left with question marks.
In their first game against the Penguins, the Flyers got off to a terrible start being out shot 11-3 for most of the 1st period. In the first ten minutes of the game, it looked like the Flyers wanted to hit Crosby more than thy wanted to score a goal and it cost them. The Flyers played most of the first period in their own zone and gave up two early goals which cost them in the end. A huge contributor to the goals were the amount of lost face offs. Throughout the whole game the Flyers struggled to win face offs and the Penguins were able to control the pace of the game from the start. If a team is always playing on their heels and always defending, they are bound to make mistakes, which is exactly what happened. The Flyers gave up a couple off penalties early and the Penguins made them pay. The Flyers penalty kill was just as bad as their face off record and the Penguins took advantage off it. The Flyers finished the game strong but it wasn't enough for them to crawl back into the game. The Penguins beat the Flyers 3-1.
On Sunday, the Flyers faced of against the Buffalo Sabres. The Flyers started off again on the defense and the Sabres capitalized early on the power play. Unlike the against the Penguins, the Flyers were able to but up 2 goals to take the lead, but the Flyers defense let them down again and allowed Vanek get one-on-one with Bryzgalov and Vanek put on a dazzling move and tied the game. Then quickly into the third period, Tyler Myers put a puck on net that deflected off of Kimmo Timonen's skate and passed Bryzgalov to give the Sabres the lead, which they never gave up. The Sabres beat the Flyers 5-2 behind Thomas Vanek's five point night.
After the first two games of the season, there was a lot more bad than good that came from it for the Flyers and their fans. The Flyers defense looked slow, which lead to early deficits and a bad penalty kill, and the chemistry of the offense looked a tad off. The one positive was the play of Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryz played well in both games but the Flyers defense didn't give him much help and lead to a bad score line.
I don't want to read too much into it, considering it is the first time they've played together in 8 months but in a shortened season there isn't much time to correct mistakes. The Flyers have another chance to get their first win off the season on Tuesday when they face off against the New Jersey Devils.
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