Thursday, October 06, 2011

Flyers spoil Bruins banner party with narrow victory

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins raised their 2011 Stanley Cup
banner on Thursday.

But the Philadelphia Flyers dropped the curtain on the celebration.

In his first effort to justify a $51 million, nine-year deal, Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 22-of-23 shots in his Philly debut and Jakub Voracek tallied the deciding score late in the first period as the Flyers edged the defending champions, 2-1, in the season opener for both clubs at TD Garden.

Claude Giroux also registered a first-period goal for the Flyers, who returned to the arena where they suffered the final segments of a four-game sweep at the hands of Boston in last year's Eastern semifinals.

39-year-old Jaromir Jagr returned to the NHL after a three-year stint in Russia and recorded his 1,600th NHL point with the primary assist on the Giroux score.

Brad Marchand notched the lone score for the Bruins, who couldn't sustain the momentum from a lengthy pregame ceremony which honored the club's first title since 1972.

Tim Thomas, the reigning Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy winner, made 27 saves in defeat.

Trailing by a goal, the hosts misfired on several chances in the late stages.

Nathan Horton whiffed facing a wide-open net from the right side on a Bruins advantage with just over nine minutes left in regulation. Tyler Seguin was then denied from the left side seconds later thanks to Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen smothering the chance with his stick.

Bryzgalov let a David Krejci drive drop from the crook of his arm inside the final five minutes, but he covered the rebound before Krejci could follow up.

Thomas went to the bench for an extra skater with under a minute to play, but in spite of heavy pressure in the offensive zone, Marchand committed a slashing infraction with 19.9 ticks remaining to kill any chances of a tying goal.

Boston was awarded the game's first power play and collected the game's first goal at the 9:42 mark of the opening period. Seguin threaded a pass from inside his own zone up to Marchand at the Philly blue line, and the hulking forward was able to break in and slide a backhander inside the left post.

Philadelphia equalized on its own advantage with 50 seconds left in the period, when Jagr fed Giroux, and the winger moved through the middle of the ice, faked out Thomas in front and put the disc into an open cage.

The visitors then went into the locker room up 2-1. Andrej Meszaros' point drive was kicked out, but Voracek gathered the rebound, spun around in the slot and placed his shot inside the right post with 2.4 ticks left.

Bryzgalov stopped all six shots he faced in the second, including a nifty glove stop on a Marchand chance early in the period.

Notes: The Flyers have won four of their last five season openers, including three straight on the road...The Bruins have dropped their last four home openers...For Jagr, it was his first North American regular-season point since April 6, 2008 with the Rangers against the Devils...Philly finished 1-for-4 on the power play and Boston was 1-for-5...Voracek, who played for Columbus last season, snapped a 16-game goal drought.

No comments: