Brian Boucher deserved a better fate. The Flyers as a team, quite frankly, didn’t.
The Orange and Black dropped their first contest of the 2010-2011 season, a 2-1 overtime decision at the hands of the St. Louis Blues last night at the ScottTrade Center. The fact that the Flyers were even able to get a point out of this game was an accomplishment in itself, because it’s hard to believe that many thought the deserved the single point, let alone two.
The Flyers took 10, yes, 10 penalties, and thanks to some solid special teams play were able to kill off all but one St. Louis powerplay, a man advantage that resulted in the first game of the contest by the Blues’ Brad Boyes, who tipped an Erik Johnson shot past Brian Boucher and made it 1-0 St. Louis in the first period. The score would remain that way for much of the contest, as the Flyers, for the second straight game, struggled to really get their feet under them until the third period of play. Still, once Philadelphia got into the flow of the game, the contest became an exciting one.
Thanks to a terrific pinch effort by Matt Carle – who was the Flyers best defenseman, by far, last night – a rebound off a Jaro Halak save came loose and right onto the stick of Danny Briere, who punched it home for his second goal of the season to even the game up at 1. The Flyers cranked up the intensity from that point forward, turning the tables on the Blues as they outshot them in the period by a total of 14-6. Brian Boucher stood tall when he needed to and the Flyers did an excellent job of killing off some late St. Louis powerplays to keep the game deadlocked heading into the overtime frame.
In overtime, a magnificent individual effort from Danny Briere resulted in the Flyers sniper catching iron on a snipe of a shot that beat Halak. Instead of taking home a two points they wouldn’t have necessarily deserved, the Flyers were left to scramble back to the other end of the ice and defend against the Blues ensuing offensive rush. Brian Boucher wouldn’t be as fortunate as Halak.
After some great pressure from Alex Steen – who looked terrific all night long – and Barret Jackman in the Flyers’ end, a loose puck popped right to Carlo Colaiacovo who ripped a slapper past Boosh and sealed the victory for Saint Louis. The Blues celebrated their season-opening victory, while the Flyers were forced to sit on the plane ride back from Missouri to Philadelphia and reflect on the fact that they let two points slip away in a situation no one really saw them getting any.
In the grand scheme of things, however, the Flyers will look back on this roadtrip and deem it successful. Two hostile environments to start the season, two home openers for two teams with playoff aspirations and rowdy fanbases, and the Flyers snatched up three of a possible four points to begin the 2010-2011 campaign. They got some lucky bounces along the way, and they certainly could have easily came out with zero points combined in their first two contests, but you won’t find a Flyers fan or player now that’s not content with the fact that the Flyers have three points after their first two games of the season.
The Orange and Black raise the 2010 Eastern Conference Champions banner tomorrow night against the Colorado Avalanche at the Wells Fargo Center.