Despite 3-2 OT Loss to Kings, Flyers Are Close To Where They Need To Be

The Flyers have had a lot of big games early on this season, and so far they have answered the call on almost all of them. Former Flyer star Mike Richards made his return to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia tonight for the first time since being dealt during the summer to the Los Angeles Kings for forwards Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. And make no mistake about it, the game was going to be a dandy. Both teams are young and both teams are good. And we can now definitely say both teams have great goalies. In the end, it was the Kings picking up the 3-2 overtime victory on the power play. Mike Richards assisted on Justin Williams’ game winner.

Both of these teams are very fun to watch and that was evident early. There’s a lot of negative reports out there about the Flyers discipline tonight, but it probably wasn’t as bad as it appeared. The officials made it clear early on that they were going to call anything and everything. And that’s exactly what happened on both sides with 18 minor penalties called. It was a parade to the penalty box and you cannot control who the officials are, you have to adapt to their unique style.

Danny Briere played well in the Flyers loss (Neat1325@flickr)

The Flyers are where they need to be or very close to it performance wise. They shot 67 times tonight, with 34 on goal compared to the Kings 23. The power play had a few instances of the rust Flyer fans are so tired of, but they showed some really positive flashes too. They moved the puck really well on a few of the power plays and Jaromir Jagr took a power play shift with Danny Briere and fed him a nice pass to Briere’s favorite spot on the left side of the net for a slam dunk goal. The puck movement was impressive on that power play and Jagr showed why he is the guy everyone is looking to on the power play to make something happen. He has just so much valuable experience on the man advantage.

One guy who has caught a lot of flack from fans and media this season is Zac Rinaldo. Even though Rinaldo only had 1:51 of ice time tonight, it was very effective. In the past Rinaldo has gained the type of attention he doesn’t want due to poor penalties in key situations and risky plays and overaggressive behavior.

Rinaldo put a hit on Kings defenseman Drew Doughty when he was skating into the Flyer zone with his head down tonight in the first period. This was a clean hit shoulder to upper chest and Doughty left the lineup and did not return. Instead of taking a poor penalty he energized his team with legal agitation and a huge hit on Doughty. Tonight, we saw a different side of Zac. One that coach Peter Laviolette likes a lot more. “I thought it was a good hit,” Laviolette said of Rinaldo’s hit on Doughty. “You know Zac didn’t get to play much tonight, but it seemed like the minutes he was out there were eventful.”

Rinaldo had the media chuckling with his description of the hit.

“From my vantage point? He came across the trolley tracks head down,” Rinaldo said. “Clean hit. Shoulder to shoulder. That’s about it.”

Rinaldo added he didn’t hear any complaining from the Kings coaches or bench. Here’s the video of the hit, you be the judge:

Zac Rinaldo’s Hit on Drew Doughty

Even though the Flyers lost this game in overtime tonight, only gaining 1 point, they played pretty well. There were some penalties toward the end of the game that could have been avoidable, especially James van Riemsdyk’s right before overtime that ended up costing the Flyers the game. However, the Flyers dominated in the chance department and had to be happy with the overall effort. If they capitalize on more of their chances and improve the special teams by getting a little sharper on the power play and improve the struggling penalty kill, this team will be very difficult to beat. And they’re 3-0-1 already.

Overall tonight was a good Flyers effort. The penalties on both sides could not be controlled. Build off of the good things, and tonight there was a lot of good, and a lot of excitement. Zac Rinaldo showed a much smarter, more effective version of himself which is what Peter Laviolette has been looking for.

The Flyers will get a chance to build off of these things in Ottawa on Tuesday. There’s a chance Sergei Bobrovsky may get his first start of the season on Tuesday. Look for Laviolette to reveal this over the next couple of days.

Other Flyers Notes/Tidbits:

• The Flyers had 67 total shots at the net tonight – 34 on net, 22 that were blocked and 11 that missed. Carle led the way with a total of eight – six on net and two that were blocked. (Courtesy: Flyers PR)

• The Flyers were 2-for-7 on the power play tonight, with Danny Briere and Matt Carle scoring the two power play goals.

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1 thought on “Despite 3-2 OT Loss to Kings, Flyers Are Close To Where They Need To Be”

  1. I initially thought that Rinaldo’s hit was borderline illegal and he left his feet, but after watching it a few times, he definitely made shoulder contact first, then leaving his feet was follow through. Really a fantastic hit. I thought what was more impressive was how Rinaldo kept his cool at the King’s bench when they were trying to get him to throw down and/or do something stupid. The refs didn’t quite see it the way that I did, I’m sure Lavy didn’t miss it. With Rinaldo, there is no place for Shelley in this lineup (not that there was before).

    JVR looked a invisible out there at times, and lazy (see last penalty) at others, which is a fear that some people (who aren’t always looking through orange and black glasses) had going into this season. Fans tend to remember the JVR of last years playoffs and forget that he was benched for being lazy and stupid during the regular season last year. Hopefully this is just a one game thing and not a pattern and hopefully he realizes and can handle the weight that the Flyers and their fans have put on him this year and beyond.

    Jagr looks a little slow out there, hands wise. His legs and vision are definitely there, but it looks like his hands are a little slow. 40 year old hands, if you will, when it comes to that quick snap shot that he was known for. Personally, I think he still shaking the rust off and getting used to the speed of the NHL, but it’s possible that he may be more of a set up guy now. The combo of Jagr and Giroux has produced some absolutely crazy plays in this short season so far and I think that the best is yet to come with these two.

    I agree with you Justin, I think we’re going to see Bob next game. Bryz has been very good/great through the first four, but it seemed like he was losing the puck a little last night, for whatever reason. Not a bad time to have him sit a game, regain his focus and get Bob a start. I’m interested to see how Bob has progressed in the offseason, I’ve heard some fantastic things about his development.

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