No doubt about it, last night’s 5-2 loss to Philadelphia was an ugly start to the season.
They played a good game and we played a bad game, and that’s usually a bad mix. -Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
It’s all on us. The D has the puck and we didn’t give options on the wall, we were far from each other, we didn’t manage the puck well at both blue lines and just bad decisions the whole game. -Jonathan Marchessault
The Golden Knights will toss it away and move on to Minnesota like they normally do. After all, even though it was the first game of the season, it’s still just one game and a lopsided loss is the same as a close loss in the standings.
But the question certainly needs to be asked, how did the Golden Knights look so bad? Was it the Flyers stellar play or mistakes the Golden Knights made, and more importantly, is this something that might continue?
We need to be ready. This was definitely not good enough of an effort. Every night there’s a good hockey team, if we’re not ready we’re going to get spanked like we just did. -Marchessault
From the winning locker room, Philadelphia believed it was a combination of both their strong execution and Vegas’ miscues.
We took advantage of what we got. It was a solid game, we did a good job of creating opportunities. -Wayne Simmonds, Flyers forward
On the Flyers first and second goals, Vegas made costly errors from their defensemen and forwards. Jon Merrill made a timing mistake in the offensive zone which led to an odd-man rush on the first one, and Oscar Lindberg made an egregious backhand dump attempt that Philly picked off and stormed to the net to score the second. Both mistakes led directly to goals.
That’s part of playing fast and that’s an area where we continue to get better. When you are moving your feet and you are closing on people… We were okay there tonight. When that part of the game is there, we want that edge to be part of our game. -Dave Hakstol, Flyers coach
Other Vegas mistakes proved to be costly as well, especially in the second half of the game. Erik Haula’s two minor penalties led to a goal by Philly’s Wayne Simmonds and created many other offensive chances for the Flyers.
Our quick transitions were good, our D moved it to our forwards hands. It was a bit sloppy in the neutral zone going back and fourth. We moved pucks, got it down low and tried to expose them. -Scott Laughton, Flyers forward
Vegas at times seemed to play with high emotions and let it get the better of them. Philadelphia took control of their man advantages and held strong on the 5-on-3 penalty kill in the 3rd. (With a little help from the post.)
You never want to be in that situation, but our guys were able to do the job. We had some real good saves from our goaltender and the three guys that were out, did a really good job. They battled hard, like I said we are going to need a save somewhere along the way and we had one really good one on that kill and a couple other really solid ones. -Hakstol
Overall, the Flyers balance was the story of the game. Philadelphia scored four even-strength goals, one power play goal, and killed a 5-on-3 shorthanded situation. The winning team deserves full credit for their opening night victory on the road, but Vegas’ mistakes made it easier for Philadelphia to celebrate. Maybe the Wild will give the Golden Knights a few favors this Saturday in Minnesota.