Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography

Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography

Flyers Week in Photos 10/8-10/15

It’s the season of change for the Philadelphia Flyers. We are starting to see Ron Hextall’s influence on the team in a major way this season. Over the offseason, Hextall managed to trade away Nick Grossmann and Zac Rinaldo for a couple of draft picks and Sam Gagner. Not to mention the huge cap relief that trading away Chris Pronger’s contract gave us that went towards signing Jake Voracek and Sean Couturier. But Hexy’s biggest offseason moves were signing Michal Neuvirth as a backup goalie and bringing up college coach Dave Hakstol who, so far, has made a bad team look like a playoff team.

Thursday, October 8, 2015: The season begins with 3-on-3 overtime.

With the Flyers roster finally set, most fans were ready to see the Flyers be as bad as they were last season. There was some optimism carried over from the pre-season, but how can you be sure what team is going to be on the ice when the season finally starts?

What we got was a team that was not only able to keep up with the Eastern Conference champs, but able to dominate the play for long periods of time. The second period was a back and forth between the two teams scoring.

Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography

Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography

The second period, which was controlled more often by the Lightning, saw all four of the game’s regulation goals. Jason Garrison opened scoring with a long wristshot that looked like it got tipped by something in front of the net. Matt Read answered for the Flyers on a beautiful passing play from linemates Scott Laughton and RJ Umberger. A Brayden Schenn power play goal from an Evgeni Medvedev point shot gave the Flyers a brief lead until Ryan Callahan knotted things up for Tampa.

The real excitement came from the overtime that was forced after a defensive 3rd period. Each team had high-quality scoring chances that could have given fans a heart attack. Every few seconds a goaltender was relied upon to save the game. The game ended when Evgeny Medvedev left the side of the ice to pin two lightning players along the boards. Unfortunately, all three Flyers players were along the same boards and Tampa Bay’s Jason Garrison was able to speed up the ice and poke it under Mason’s pads.

The first game was a promising start to the season; gaining one point and forcing a Stanley Cup favorite team into overtime.

Saturday, October 10, 2015: The Flyers are beaten bad by the Panthers. 

Four goals against in the first seven minutes of the first period. I’m not sure what else I can say about this game because I stopped watching. It was just too painful.

Image by Amy Irvin/38Photography

Image by Amy Irvin/38Photography

Monday, October 12, 2015: The Flyers home opener. 

Early on Monday morning, we learned that Steve Mason was dealing with serious family issues and would not be joining the team. Michal Neuvirth got his first start for the home crowd and came up big against an opponent that they had just been pretty much dominated by.

Image by Amy Irvin/38Photography

Image by Amy Irvin/38Photography

Flyers win one-zip

Hmm, impressive home debut

What’s left? Game, blouses

The home opener saw a few roster changes made besides Neuvirth in as starter. Radko Gudas made his debut in place of Luke Schenn who joined Vinny Lecavalier in the press box. Sam Gagner was filling in for an injured R.J. Umberger.

Brayden Schenn scored the only goal of the game with an assist from Sam Gagner. The rest of the game was controlled by goaltending. Neuvirth kept the Flyers very small lead safe earning himself his first shutout.

Image by Amy Irvin/38Photography

Image by Amy Irvin/38Photography

Wednesday, October 14, 2015: Flyers vs. Blackhawks; Kimmo Timonen night.

The Flyers honored Kimmo Timonen on Wednesday night before the game against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Timonen walked out to drop the ceremonial puck and in between periods fans were shown tribute videos from some of Timonen’s old teammates including Scott Hartnell. It brought a tear to many eyes… what, no I didn’t cry. Ha Ha the guy next to me just elbowed me…(in the feelings).

gif by sheercompulsion.tumblr.com

gif by sheercompulsion.tumblr.com

The game was everything Flyers fans want to see. Good, competitive hockey against a dynasty team, a three-time Stanley Cup team. The fourth line especially had a big role in shutting down the Blackhawks, getting a lot of ice time against all levels of competition.

Sam Gagner scored his first goal as a Flyer on the man advantage. Minutes later Neuvirth would save the Flyers when Marian Hossa got a short-handed breakaway. Neuvirth calmly turned Hossa away and preserved his shutout and the Flyers lead.

Claude Giroux gave the Flyers a two-goal lead with his first even strength goal of the season.

The third period was a bit of a mess for the Flyers, but Neuvirth managed to hold on to the lead and Matt Read put the icing on the cake, poking a final goal past a stunned Crawford, earning Neuvirth his second straight shutout.

Here’s a small observation from Erik Yost that kind of sums up how Dave Hakstol’s new coaching style has changed the way the Flyers play:

This team has a quietly, yet aggressive demeanor to them in the early parts of the season. They’re starting to do the little things right, especially in the neutral zone. For most of the first half of the game, the Flyers really stymied the Chicago attack and forced several turnovers.

 

So far this season it’s good to be a Flyers fan. There’s hope, although we’re not sure how long it will last, for now it’s fun to just watch the Flyers get off to an alright start and not bomb the first eight games.