Lecavalier’s Flyers debut spoiled by Bernier, Maple Leafs

Lecavalier’s Flyers debut spoiled by Bernier, Maple Leafs

It didn’t take long for new Flyer Vincent Lecavalier to make his mark in Philadelphia. As the final seconds were ticking down on the opening period of Wednesday night’s season premiere at the Wells Fargo Center, Lecavalier collected his first point in Orange & Black off of a sweet dish to Brayden Schenn to put his team ahead 1-0 going into the dressing room.

Unfortunately, a one-goal lead was not nearly enough production for the work the Flyers put in during those initial 20 minutes. Despite launching 15 shots on goal and dominating the time on attack, Toronto netminder Jonathan Bernier stood tall when the horn sounded having kept his team in the contest.

You could sense the momentum changing right away in the second period, and sure enough the Maple Leafs outlasted the Bullies by a tally of 3-1.

Bernier was without question the star of the show, halting 31 of 32 shots to earn a win in his Leafs debut. The Flyers were among the teams to inquire about Bernier over the summer when he was still a backup goaltender for the Kings, but ultimately Toronto landed him, sending forward Matt Frattin, netminder Ben Scrivens, and a second-round pick to Los Angeles.

Perhaps Bernier was taking this opportunity to show the Flyers’ front office what they potentially missed out on.

Regardless, the most frustrating part of all was how many chances the Leafs—playing in their second game in as many nights—gave the home team to pile on. Philadelphia was awarded seven power plays compared to just two for Toronto, yet the Flyers were only able to convert once on Schenn’s marker.

They kept going back to this strategy where a puck carrier with a full head of steam would attempt a drop pass just before crossing into enemy territory, often to Claude Giroux. By midway through the game, Giroux or the intended recipient would be swarmed at the blue line, and by the end, the Flyers could barely mount an attack.

Bernier also turned away a penalty shot by Wayne Simmonds.

At least Lecavalier looked as advertised, his assist coming on the lone Flyers’ score off of a power play. The four-time All Star got to the puck in the corner and proceeded to make pretty below the goal line, skating behind the net until the Leafs were sufficiently dazzled, then delivering the biscuit to Schenn right in the middle of the Leafs’ defense for the home run.

I don’t know about you, but I could probably get used to seeing this No. 40 in Orange & Black.

>> Power play dooms Flyers in opening loss to Leafs [CSN]
>> Box Score [Yahoo!]

Previously: Are 2013-14 Flyers pulling in too many different directions?

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Claude Giroux spent Friday signing virtual autographs as the cover athlete for Topps NHL Skate 2017, a new onilne digital trading card game. Remember when trading cards came in a bubble gum pack? 

After the event Giroux sat down with Michael Barkann for a game of “Who Does It Better?: Canada or the United States.”

The game started off with a a few easy softball questions, with Giroux picking the NFL over the Candian Football League. Then it got a little tougher, as Giroux chose Canadian hockey over U.S. hockey.

Despite talents like Drake and Shania Twain, Giroux went with the U.S. over Canada in music, and also chose American bacon over Canadian bacon.

Eventually, Barkann asked Giroux which beer he preffered. “I don’t drink beer," Giroux responded. Really? What Canadian doesn't like beer?

As he started to get up out of his seat after the interview, Giroux showed his true colors. “I love beer. I love beer,” he said.

Check out the video above to see the full game. 

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

"I guess we can put the whole 'if he did it' thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that," said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers' loss.

"I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player," Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. "I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I'm a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that."

Gretzky didn't mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

"And Connor, he's going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him," Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. "He's been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he's always responded and done his part."