The Flyers on their season-opening loss to the Maple Leafs
Wayne Simmonds failed to beat ex-teammate Jonathan Bernier on a penalty shot late in the second period of Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Leafs. (USA Today Images)
One game into the season, the Flyers are 0 for 1 on penalty shots.
Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier stoned ex-teammate Wayne Simmonds at the end of the second period in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over the Flyers (see story).
The game was 1-1 when Simmonds got his chance. He took a weaving route to the net and tried to go five-hole with backhand/forehand.
“Bernier played well, real well,” Simmonds said.
Anything he would have recognized or remembered from your days with the L.A. Kings?
“I don’t know,” Simmonds said. “You shoot on a goalie a lot of times, you change your move a bunch of times, he probably knows some of my moves, I don’t know if that went into it. It doesn’t make a difference now. It’s over.”
“When you get to a penalty shot situation, it’s one-on-one. He got the better of me this time.”
Coach Peter Laviolette has proved during his more than four seasons with the Flyers that he’s not afraid to tinker with his lines.
But that longstanding top line of Jakub Voracek, Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux seemed untouchable.
Not so, as it turns out.
On Wednesday, Laviolette moved Voracek off the top line and onto the third line with Sean Couturier and Max Talbot. In his place, Laviolette stuck Brayden Schenn.
Schenn had practiced in that combination for a couple days, so when it was time for an actual game, he felt at home.
“Yeah, I feel good [on that line],” Schenn said. “Obviously, when you get a chance with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, you want to make the most of it. Both those guys, Hartsy obviously goes real hard and G’s real nifty with the puck. So, just try to get open and make the most of every opportunity you get there.”
As for why he made the decision? Laviolette said it was all about balance.
“We’re trying to get a balance on scoring throughout,” he said. “… I think having Brayden up there, trying to get him going, I thought he played a good game on that line, and that line was able to generate some chances, but again, you’d like to see one or two of them drop in on the five-on-five.
“Matt Read going with Vinny (Lecavalier), I thought that was the best Vinny’s line looked yet with having Matt on that line.”
Schenn, it should be noted, was the Flyers’ sole goal-scorer of the night, though that marker came on the power play and was assisted on by Lecavalier.
It wasn’t the outcome he wanted -- personally, or for his team -- but Steve Mason was ecstatic to have started in net for the Flyers’ season opener.
“It’s huge,” he said. “I had a great meeting with Lavy a few days ago when he told me I would play. It’s a huge honor to get the opening-night start, and Razor (Ray Emery) could have been in there just as easily as I was.
“It was a great honor to have it, and unfortunately we didn’t get the win.”
Mason looked particularly sharp through the first half of the game, no more so than when he made a stellar kick save on Leafs winger Phil Kessel. The defensive breakdowns in front of him kept him on his toes right from the first puck drop, but Mason remained calm and composed, communicating fluidly with the blueliners beside him.
“He did well,” Giroux said. “He kept us in the game, made some big saves for us. Anytime your goalie does that for you, you’re going to have a chance to win.”
Kimmo Timonen continues as the associate captain and Hartnell was named alternate captain.
The list for this one: United States Army 2nd Lieutenant Daniel Vorsky from the Striker Army Reserves in Trenton, NJ; United States Army Master SGT Robert Harris from Brooklawn, NJ; United States Air Force Master Sergeant Thomas Maxwell from Levittown, Pa.
The Flyers' captain treated kids from the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation to the game in a club suite.
Sugar House Casino will be the presenting sponsor of the Flyers all season. ... The Flyers had an intermission game that will likely become a hit. Human bowling ball off a giant slingshot into giant bowling pins for prizes. People sit on a sled and get shot into the pins. Can’t wait to see Chris “Bundy” Therien slingshot Tim Saunders. ... Former Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is reportedly negotiating a deal with Las Vegas in the ECHL, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. ... Giroux played a whopping 26:02 because of the seven power plays. Of that total, 9:34 were power-play minutes. The only other player close to him in minutes was Mark Streit (22:42).