Flyers Drop Season Opener to Leafs
The Flyers aren't the only team in the NHL with two goalies battling for the lion's share.
Jonathan Bernier was making his debut for Toronto and he wanted to impress. He did just that, stymieing the Flyers in his Maple Leafs debut - a 3-1 victory in Philadelphia.
Bernier made 31 saves in the game. The only goal the Flyers got by him came late in the first period.
Brayden Schenn scored thanks to some nifty puck-work from two of his new teammates. Both Mark Streit and Vincent Lecavalier, acquired by the Flyers in the offseason, assisted on Schenn's goal.
In the final seconds of the first period, Streit sent a puck into the zone around the boards. Lecavalier got to the puck, skated behind the net and found Schenn in front to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead with seven seconds left in the period.
Toronto answered in the second. Phil Kessel put in a rebound off a Dion Phaneuf shot to tie the game up with 2:54 remaining in the period.
The Flyers had a chance to take the lead when Wayne Simmonds was tripped up on a breakaway attempt with just three seconds to go in the period. Simmonds earned a penalty shot on the play.
Simmonds skated in on Bernier but the Leafs netminder showed patience and turned away Simmonds' attempt easily to hold the tie. It turned out to be a big play that set the tone for the third period.
"Yeah definitely it’s huge," said former Flyer and Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk. "Bernier is going to make big stops like that and he was there making huge saves and he kept us in it especially early when we didn’t really see the puck."
Just 2:30 into the third, Dave Bolland, a free agent acquisition from Chicago, scored the first of his two goals to give Toronto a 2-1 lead.
While holding off a Flyers rush late in the game, Bolland scored his second goal of the game to make it 3-1 in the final minute and ice the victory for Toronto.
The Flyers clearly out-played Toronto for much of the game. They out-shot the Leafs 32-25 and kept the pressure on Toronto all night.
Unfortunately for them they ran into a good goaltender who was fresh. Toronto had played the night before in Montreal, a 4-3 win, and the fatigue showed from that.
“Offensively that’s the best we’ve looked in a while, but at the end of the day you’ve got to score more than one goal to win a game," said head coach Peter Laviolette. "We had a lot of chances, but there were plenty of missed shots and shots that they had blocked.
Mason didn't look bad either in his first start of the season. He made 22 saves, and looked good at the times he was pressured by Toronto.
The bounces just didn't go his way as all three goals he gave up were rebounds.
“You make the initial save and you do your best to get in position for the next shot and they made some good plays on the rebounds," Mason said. "So I’ve got to give [Toronto] credit."
The Flyers head to Montreal on Saturday to take on Danny Briere and the Canadiens.