Flyers Notes: Meszaros feels great in return

Flyers Notes: Meszaros feels great in return
January 20, 2013, 1:54 am
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There was some intrigue as to whether Andrej Meszaros would play Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

He did.

And logged a lot more minutes -- 19:54 -- than anyone expected coming off right Achilles tendon surgery last August.

Yeah, actually felt better than I thought I would feel so thats a good sign, Meszaros said.

I tried to do short shifts, obviously I havent played since May and plus the injuries and everything, so Ive just tried to keep it simple.

I felt comfortable and I was playing a lot, but unfortunately game day didnt go out right, but I felt pretty good.

Prior to the game there were rumblings he would not play. Coach Peter Laviolette twice wouldnt answer questions on that and referred his status to general manager Paul Holmgren, who said he was definitely playing.

Meszaros had been a bit tentative at times in practice last week. He didnt seem to have any problem keeping up with the brisk pace of the game or his new partner, Kurtis Foster.

It was great, Meszaros said. It was up and down. Pittsburgh, they came up with a 2-0 lead right away, and from the second period I thought we were a better team.

But we have to make sure that we got a good first 10 minutes in and go from there. But like I said from the second period I felt we were a better team.

We had a lot of power play chances but we have to execute more and score some goals because the season is short and power plays are going to be important.

Long time coming
Claude Girouxs goal to open the second period was the first by a Flyer captain since Oct. 12, 2011 when Chris Pronger scored against Vancouver. Pronger was one of 10 Flyers to get a point in that 5-4 victory.

Power play
The Flyers started poorly, got better, but still finished 0 for 5. This is a power play that is a bit different with new bodies this season.

Last year, the power play finished sixth, at 81.8 percent efficiency.

The power play was bad; we moved the puck well, Giroux said. At the end of the day you have to find a way to put it in. We had a lot of chances. Last year we were pretty good on the power play and we have to make sure we are this season.

Its a work in progress.

I think theyll go once we get going this season, Laviolette said. The unit that we had, the first unit there was together last year and they moved the puck well last year and they moved it well in training camp this season and they moved it well tonight and had opportunities. But the second unit is new and it will take some time.

Giroux anchors the top unit with Wayne Simmonds, Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek and Kimmo Timonen. The second unit has Foster, Brayden Schenn, Meszaros, Sean Couturier and Matt Read.

Pens took care of crowd early
The derisive chants. The boos. Sidney Crosby has heard it all before. He knew exactly what to expect.

Theres always a little bit extra in the air here, Crosby said. Its a tough building to come into. The history with the teams, everyone gets up for the games.

Crosby who said it was nice to get this first one after Pittsburgh won added that he thought the Penguins took the crowd out of the game early.

You hear it a little bit more when you lose, he said. Its always a little bit easier when you win. We came in knowing it was going to be a tough atmosphere. We started off great and took care of that a little bit.

Didnt last, though.

Off to Buffalo
The Flyers play there Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

You never want to sit on a loss too long, so we made sure of that with the 12:30 p.m. start, Laviolette quipped. So, well be back out, ready to play. We rolled lines pretty good tonight.

Nobody really got taxed. I think Simmer (Wayne Simmonds) was maybe our highest-minute forward and that is because he got caught out there a couple times on the power-play. Other than that, I think we will be fine.

Loose pucks
The 5050 raffle will continue indefinitely. Some lucky fan took home 20,000 and change. ... Attendance was 19,994 -- the largest regular season crowd in Flyers history. It breaks the record of 19,992 set on Feb. 21, 2009 vs. Pittsburgh. ... Ruslan Fedotenkos 664 NHL games between games as a Flyer is second-most for any returning Flyer. Vinny Prospal is first at 715. ... Zac Rinaldo had seven hits in just 8:54 ice time.

Sarah Baicker and John Gonzalez contributed to this story.

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net