Sat, Oct 08, 2011 - Page 20 News List

NHL: Flyers spoil Bruins’ night

Reuters, BOSTON

The Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chara, right, holds up the Stanley Cup before their game against the Philadelphia Flyers in Boston, Massachusetts, on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

The Boston Bruins hoisted the Stanley Cup championship banner to the rafters on Thursday, but their National Hockey League season opener fell flat with a 2-1 defeat to the Philadelphia Flyers.

In other opening night games, the Vancouver Canucks, who lost to the Bruins in Game 7 of last season’s Stanley Cup finals, went down 4-3 in a shootout to Pittsburgh, while the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 in an “Original Six” matchup.

The Bruins savored the sight of the bright yellow banner being raised to the roof of the TD Garden, where it will hang next to five others won by the Bruins.

Boston kept the party going by drawing first blood on a first-period power-play goal from Brad Marchand, but the Flyers hit back with a pair of goals 47 seconds apart from Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.

The contest then turned into a goaltending duel between Flyers prized free agent signing Ilya Bryzgalov and Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who was coming off a season where he won the Vezina Trophy as top goalie and Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player in the playoffs.

Netminders were also in the spotlight in Toronto where James Reimer stopped 32 shots to notch the shutout as the Maple Leafs launched their season with a satisfying victory over their Original Six rivals from Montreal.

The Maple Leafs, wearing 1967 throwback jerseys to mark the last time they won a Stanley Cup, are under immense pressure to end a record playoff drought and are counting on Reimer to lead them back to the postseason for the first time since 2004.

After just 37 career appearances, the Maple Leafs felt they had seen enough to tab Reimer as their starting netminder and signed him to a three-year US$5.8 million contract extension.

On opening night, at least, the decision looked like a sound investment.

A shorthanded goal from newcomer Matthew Lombardi and another from captain Dion Phaneuf provided all the offense the Leafs needed as Reimer shut the door the rest of the way, even though Montreal outshot Toronto 32-18.

Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin both beat Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo in a shootout to earn the Penguins a season opening win.

Matt Cooke scored twice for the Penguins, once on the power play and another shorthanded, while James Neal also found the back of the net during regulation.

Daniel Sedin, last season’s scoring champion, had the third period’s only goal to force overtime, while Maxim Lapierre and Keith Ballard had Vancouver’s other tallies.

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