The first week of the Flyers’ season is in the books. After three games, the Orange and Black is 0-2-1 and off to its third straight slow start. Let’s take a quick look back at the good, the bad and the ugly.
Wayne Simmonds poised for monster season
The power forward led the team with 29 goals last season, but with four goals, including two on the power play, Simmonds appears ready to become a star in the NHL. In his seventh year, the 26 year old has shown the ability to develop into a 30-plus goal scorer. His season took off when he was moved to the second line with Brayden Schenn and Vinny Lecavalier – his linemates from most of last year – against the Devils.
Special teams are solid again
The power play and penalty kill units were ranked in the top eight in the league last year and both have stood out in the season’s infancy. The Flyers have gone 3-for-13 with the man-advantage – but did fail to convert up a man in overtime on Saturday. The PK has allowed just one goal in eight short-handed situations.
Same ol’, same ol’ with shootouts
A thorn in its side since introduced, the organization’s woes continue in the shootout. It was bad enough to waste a 3-0 lead with 12 minutes to play, but the Flyers failed to score in four attempts in the shootout vs. Montreal. Even worse, Claude Giroux, Lecavalier, Courturier and Matt Read hardly challenged Carey Price. On a positive note, Ray Emery made more saves (three) in one shootout than he did all last season (two) combined.
Defensive depth is thin
This isn’t really news but it became reality after just one game. With top defenseman Kimmo Timonen already likely done for the season with blot clots in his lungs and leg, the Flyers blue line took another costly hit. Braydon Coburn, their top defenseman who plays the opponents’ top line and the most minutes, suffered a lower body injury in the season opener in Boston and is expected to be out at least another week. They Flyers had no choice but to turn to journeyman and seventh defenseman Nick Schultz as a replacement and after him the candidates include a handful of Phantoms not named Shayne Gostisbehere.
The Flyers are in trouble … again
After losing their first three games and opening the season 1-7 last year, the Orange and Black are off to a nauseating 0-2-1 start this year. They began with a hard-fought 2-1 loss to the defending Eastern Conference champs in Boston, rallied from a 3-0 hole to tie the game but ended up losing 6-4 to the Devils Thursday in the home opener and then squandered a 3-0 third-period lead and fell to the Canadiens in a shootout Saturday. Next up: Seven straight games against teams that qualified for the playoffs last season. It could get very dire for the second straight year.