Skip to Main Content

Blues open season with rare visit from Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

FLYERS (1-0-0) at BLUES (0-0-0)


Season series -- This is the first time these teams have met since Nov. 7, 2009, a 2-1 overtime win by the Flyers in Philadelphia. The last time they met in St. Louis was Jan. 31, 2009, a 4-0 Blues victory.

Big story -- The Flyers will try to keep the good times rolling following their season-opening win against the Penguins on Thursday, while the Blues will try to build on their solid finish from last season following the hiring of Davis Payne as coach in their season-opener.

Team Scope:

Flyers -- Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky stole the show Thursday in Pittsburgh, stopping 29 of 31 shots in the 3-2 victory that spoiled the Penguins' opening of their new home, Consol Energy Center.

It was a surprise move by coach Peter Laviolette, who opted for the 22-year-old rookie rather than veteran Brian Boucher -- but it paid off.

"I thought he played a really good game," Laviolette said. "In the first period, he played really strong and we played sloppy. We turned the puck over far too many times in the defensive zone and in the neutral zone. They generated a lot of opportunities from that and he made save after save in the first."

Blues -- The Flyers and Blues don't play all that often, but the visiting team won't be much of a stranger to St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak. The Flyers ended Halak's dream run with the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Halak was marvelous in backstopping the Canadiens past the Capitals and Penguins, but he couldn't overcome Philadelphia, which knocked him out of Game 1 with four goals in the first 29:53 of the game, and then cruised to a five-game series win.

Halak, however, is ready to face the Flyers again, as well as impress his new home fans in St. Louis.

"It's going to be a new challenge," he told the Blues' website. "It's kind of funny, because I got traded here and the home opening game is against Philadelphia. It's going to be a big challenge and I think everybody's looking forward to it."

Who's hot -- Claude Giroux scored a sensational shorthanded goal early in the third period Thursday against the Penguins that became the game-winner in a 3-2 victory. It was the kind of play he made during last spring' playoff run, when he had 21 points in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Bobrovsky had 29 saves in his first NHL start. … The Blues need Halak to play like he did in the playoffs, when he won a pair of Game 7s on the road. They also need to play like they finished after Payne was hired -- 23-15-4 to finish ninth in the West, five points out of a playoff spot, after a 17-17-6 start.

Injury report -- Flyers goalie Michael Leighton, already scheduled to miss a month with a bulging disc in his lower back, will have back surgery Monday and now will miss up to two months. Defenseman Chris Pronger sat out the opener and is questionable for this game as he works his way back from August surgery on his right knee. Giroux was suffering from a sore ankle, but he practiced Friday and should be in the lineup Saturday. … Blues center Andy McDonald and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo are nursing hip-flexor injuries and are question marks for the opener.

Stat pack -- The Flyers own an 83-39 record (with 17 ties) all-time against the Blues. The 83 wins are the most against any of their 1967 expansion mates except Pittsburgh -- but they've played the Penguins 109 more times over the years.

Puck drop -- The St. Louis Blues are, in a large part, responsible for the Broad Street Bullies.

In the first years of expansion, the Blues were one of the tougher teams in the League, and eliminated the Flyers in the 1968 and '69 playoffs through toughness and intimidation as much as skill. Owner Ed Snider, sick of seeing his smaller players knocked around by the likes of Noel Picard and Bob and Barclay Plager, demanded GM Bud Poile get bigger, stronger players.

At the 1969 Amateur Draft, the Flyers selected Dave Schultz and Don Saleski, and a year later they picked Bob Kelly. Those moves led to a pair of championships and a franchise culture of toughness that continues to exist today.

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.