Michal Neuvirth backstopped the Flyers to a 1-0 victory over the visiting Florida Panthers by making 31 saves at Wells Fargo Center on Monday to get a little revenge on a 7-1 loss in Florida on Saturday. The victory improved the Flyers record to 1-1-1 and gave head coach Dave Hakstol his first NHL win. After killing off an early four-minute power-play, Brayden Schenn scored his second of the season, and only goal of the night, with helpers being provided by Sam Gagner and Evgeny Medvedev. Roberto Luongo made 32 saves for the Panthers, while Nick Bjugstad led the Florida with four shots on goal.
Sometimes a turning point can come late in the game, middle of the game or even early on in the contest. Tonight was the latter. Falling victim to a double-minor and four-minute penalty kill just 1:17 into the game, the Flyers fought off all scoring chances and held their ground the entire way to keep Florida from getting on the board early. To turn the tide, the Flyers tallied the game’s only goal four minutes later and hung on for the remainder of the game for their first win of the season.
First: Michal Neuvirth - No brainer. Stopped all 31 shots he faced, including a flurry of shots with under 10 minutes to go in the third period. He helped kill off a four-minute double minor to start the game and made a diving arm save to keep the puck out of the net with six minutes to go.
Second: Brayden Schenn - Schenn posted his second goal of the year 5:57 of the first period and that was enough to give the Flyers the victory. He was a +1 and had five hits on the night.
Third: Sam Gagner - Inserted into the line-up for the first time this year and making his Flyer debut, Gagner picked up an assist on the lone goal and added three shots on net.
The Flyers won their home opener for the first time since the 2011-12 season and recorded a shutout in the home opener for the first time since 2003-04 (2-0 W over Buffalo). It’s only the fifth shutout in a home opener in Flyers history and is the first 1-0 win in the home opener for the Flyers since the very first home game in franchise history, a 1-0 win over Pittsburgh on October 19, 1967… Michal Neuvirth is the first goaltender to record a shutout in his first start as a Flyer since Ray Emery vs. Carolina on Oct. 2, 2009… The Flyers were 6-for-6 on the penalty kill after allowing three PPG on Saturday night… Sam Gagner and Radko Gudas each made their Flyer debuts. Gagner recorded an assist while Gudas co-led the team with five hits.
“I thought I had a good pregame skate. I think the last game helped me a lot. I was coming to the game more relaxed. I was just feeling good the whole day and the guys followed me. They did an outstanding job; so many blocked shots in front of me. Great team effort.” (Michal Neuvirth)
“It was everything that we thought it would be and it’s something that our group can feed off of. We went out and had a good first shift right off of the introductions and the energy was there all the way through to the final buzzer.” (Dave Hakstol)
“There are a lot of things that happen in a season, I think the main focus is to make sure everybody stays together stay tight, and I think it’s a great example when you win a 1-0 game like that. Obviously [Neuvirth] had a lot of big saves for us, and I think the fans and forwards were trying to do our best to help him, and I think the fans really did a good job.” (Claude Giroux)