BOSTON The Bruins raised their Stanley Cup banner, but it was the Flyers who may have raised some awareness as to what kind of moxie this club has during Thursdays season-opening 2-1 tense victory at TD Garden.
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov faced just 23 shots, yet slew of them, coming infrequently, were quality in nature.
Just as significant, his penalty killers did yeomans work to lend a hand, while defensively the Flyers blocked 17 shots.
Eight new faces? All of them had a hand in the win. Jakub Voracek, who went 0 for 14 in shots in preseason, got the eventual game-winner.
Eighteen-year-old rookie Sean Couturier, besides logging 4:34 of PK action, was on the ice in the final minute with Boston pressing the attack.
Who would have expected a vote of confidence like that from coach Peter Laviolette in an opener, huh?
Why not? Hes our best defensive player, Laviolette said.
Defense won the game, without question. Especially in goal where team captain Chris Pronger suggested the Flyers kind of felt Bryzgalov got bored with lack of action in front of him.
So, they did all they could to accommodate the Russian by allowing 11 shots in the final period, along with four penalties.
We took four penalties in the third to get him some action and get him back into the game and he did a great job of freezing pucks, limiting their second and third opportunities, Pronger said.
Actually, Bryzgalovs best stop came in the middle period.
Brad Marchand came streaking in from the side for a backhander as Bryzgalov did the splits to pick up sight of the puck and snare it with his glove.
Maybe my luckiest one, Bryzgalov said. Basically, he got me on the way back and he had pretty good speed. Only thing I could do was split it and hope hed hit me in the pad and he put it in my glove. It was lucky.
The Flyers survived a poor start because of a 30-plus minute on-ice ceremony as the Bruins raised their Stanley Cup banner.
The long and intricate but well-crafted event took its toll on the Flyers before they ever hit the ice. Boston, celebrating as if the Stanley Cup had been won hours earlier, had all the jump, all the energy that period and simply dominated the Flyers.
That all changed by the second period when the Flyers found their legs, their energy and their game.
I dont think we were tight. We were pretty loose waiting to go out, but we turned the puck over a little bit, Laviolette said. A little bit sloppy with some play. They generated some chances. Through the course of the game, we need to tighten things up.
Maybe thats to be expected. A new group, first time out there, opening night. I liked the second period, we really came on strong penalty trouble in the third. The penalty killers did a good job.
Indeed, the Flyers killed off four of five Bruins power plays. Max Talbot was particularly outstanding, logging 5:45 of PK time.
The first PK we got scored on, which was a bad start, but we regrouped pretty well, Talbot said. In the third, we did some good things. Good for the confidence, thats for sure.
What hurt Laviolettes team most in the opening period was a disjointed breakout as the Flyers labored to reach center ice.
As a result, there were almost no sustained offensive shifts.
Boston got a power play goal from Marchand at 9:42, when he took a lead pass from Tyler Seguin to sneak around Kimmo Timonen for a breakaway backhander on Bryzgalov.
A little miscommunication from me and Kimmo, Pronger said. After that, we kind of settled down.
Indeed, the Flyers stunned Boston with a pair of goals in the final minute of the period.
First, Claude Giroux took a nifty Jaromir Jagr pass and stick-handled right around Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg on a power play rush to tie the game at 19:10.
The assist was Jagrs magical 1,600th point, making him the ninth player in league history to reach that milestone. (See story.)
He saw that I had speed, Giroux said. I dont really remember what happened. It happened so quick. I kind of had an inside move to beat Chara ... I just tried to take the puck to the net and I was able to slip it in there.
Forty-seven seconds later, Andrej Meszaros point shot was blocked into the high slot.
Voracek gobbled up the rebound, wheeled around and threw it on net. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas didnt see it. Just like that, the Flyers led, 2-1.
I knew there wasnt much time left three seconds, just tried to turn around and it went five-hole, Voracek said. It was a tough game. They came out crisp and sharp and it was tough defending them. Bryz had some big saves and we settled down a bit.
Through the first 26 minutes of the game, Bryzgalov only faced 10 shots but most of them were quality in nature.
He made a couple of saves where guys looked at each other on the bench and said, Wow, that was amazing, Giroux said.
It was important for our team to get a good start and get that first win. Its pretty exciting to see on the bench everyone working hard and battling. It was kind of motivation for everyone to follow.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at email@example.com.