The Boston Garden crowd expected a win tonight for the Boston Bruins, as did most of hockey nation. I even anticipated having to hear the jeering from naysayers about the Philadelphia Flyers offseason moves being misguided.
"Oh just take it like a man," I told myself for the past few days anticipating said jeering. I felt the "ha ha told you so" emails and their senders so coveting the send button.
Yet Ilya Bryzgalov stood tall behind a Philadelphia Flyers team hungry for revenge.
All summer myself and a handful of other writers had to argue on this guy's behalf.
The Philadelphia Flyers were all but guaranteed a return trip last year to the Stanley Cup Finals but the Boston Bruins had something to say about that. Exploiting the Philadelphia Flyers' weaknesses and plain old steam rolling the second seeded Flyers, the Bruins went on to hoist Lord Stanley's cup.
Controversy swirled like the odor of a dead corpse all Summer as to whether the Flyers general manager acted in wisdom to trade Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Furthermore, questions abounded as to whether signing Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine year deal for a $5.5 million cap hit was prudent decision.
Tonight in Boston the Philadelphia Flyers had as good a chance as any to vindicate their general manager's bold moves. In convincing fashion they clinched a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins.
Ilya Bryzgalov managed to out duel Tim Thomas for an opening night game that had a playoff feel.
Jaromir Jagr, signed by the Flyers brass amongst further controversy, notched his 1,600th career point on a Claude Giroux goal late in the first period after Boston's Brad Marchand gave his squad the lead.
Jakub Voracek, who came over in the Jeff Carter deal, notched his first goal as a Philadelphia Flyer tonight, which also became the game winner as Ilya Bryzgalov said "nyet" to Boston's offense. Midway through the second period Bryzgalov made a spectacular glove save on Brad Marchand, something the Philly Phaithful needed to see from their new megamillion goalie.
Hopefully the Flyers can carry the momentum from this win into a remarkable season. Offseason predictions aside, this was only one great win but they will need many more to accomplish the true goal.