As expected the Philadelphia Flyers came out energized playing for new head coach Craig Berube and took advantage of a couple of fortuitous bounces off the boards to build a 2-0 first period lead over the Florida Panthers (1-2) at Wells Fargo Center Tuesday night. The Flyers would hold on for a 2-1 win that upped their record to 1-3 on the season.
Tim Thomas seemed to injure his groin tracking the carom that lead to the second Philadelphia score and could not recover to stop Braydon Coburn from firing the puck into the yawning net. Thomas headed off the ice immediately after surrendering the goal.
Thomas had trouble tracking the missed shot, getting turned around on the play, that led to Brayden Schenn's goal that opened the scoring at the 4:49 mark of the first period.
Jacob Markstrom relieved Thomas at the 7:31 mark and went on to stop all 25 shots he faced, giving the Panthers a chance to come away with at least point, which they ultimately squandered by failing to finish off scoring opportunities.
Brad Boyes stuffed in a ricochet of a blocked Brian Campbell shot for Florida's only goal of the night with 7 seconds remaining in the second period for his first as a Panther. Rookie center Aleksander Barkov also picked up a helper for his first career NHL assist.
Steve Mason, who has been a bright spot so far this season for struggling Philadelphia, continued his career mastery of the Panthers by turning aside 33 shots. Mason made excellent stops to deny Barkov, who was alone in the slot, during the first period and Shawn Matthias, who had a clear breakaway, in the second frame to help secure the Flyers their first win of the season
Erik Gudbranson received a major penalty and a game misconduct in the third period for plowing Scott Hartnell into the boards. It didn't really look like there was much malice intended on Gudbranson's part, but he needs to have better awareness of where he and the person he is checking are on the ice.
In the ensuing scrum, Jonathan Huberdeau went well above his weight class to tangle with Wayne Simmonds and was promptly tossed to the ice like a rag doll. Some nice moxie from Huberdeau but definitely not the wisest of moves.
Overall, an improvement of what took place in St. Louis Saturday night, however, this game was there for the taking, and unfortunately, the Cats failed to take advantage by sputtering on offense again.
For a Philly-centric take of last night's action pay a visit to Broad Street Hockey.
Florida will close out their four-game road trip on Thursday in Tampa Bay at 7:30 pm with the first meeting of the season against the Lightning. Hopefully, the Gulf Coast stop will result in some much-needed goals and a return to Sunrise with a .500 record for Friday's home opener versus the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins.
Scott Clemmensen is expected to meet the team in Tampa and will likely serve as Markstrom's backup.