It wasn’t the most dominating of wins, but the Philadelphia Flyers got two points in Craig Berube’s first game as the team’s head coach.
Peter Laviolette was fired after just three games, albeit following a disappointing 2013 campaign and troubling training camp. With plenty to prove, Philadelphia opened its match against the Florida Panthers with two quick goals against Tim Thomas before the 39-year-old goaltender was pulled due to a lower-body injury.
From there it was mostly Flyers goaltender Steve Mason that kept his team in the game. He turned aside 33 of 34 shots to give himself a 2.02 GAA and .936 save percentage this season.
Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who they need to step up in order to have any long-term success, remains scoreless and was on the ice for Florida’s lone goal. Forwards Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, and Matt Read are also still pointless through four games, although Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek each picked up their first assist of the season tonight.
Philadelphia still has some major concerns, but at least they avoided what would have been their first 0-4-0 in franchise history, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi. That will keep things more upbeat as Berube begins to make changes to how this team plays.
Berube makes changes to Flyers’ lines
Flyers coach Berube wants better defense, play without puck
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: