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First period dominance is key for Flyers this season

The Philadelphia Flyers did not get off to the best start in Friday’s season opener against the Vancouver Canucks. Alain Vigneault’s team rebounded with a dominant start in Monday’s 6-1 romp over the Seattle Kraken, showing just how important fast starts can be for the team this season.

Three first-period goals propelled the Flyers to an eventual first victory of the new campaign, as six different players got on the scoresheet. Carter Hart was strong in the early going for the Orange and Black, making several key saves while the score was 0-0 before the offense got rolling.

It’s only two games into the 82-game regular season, but overall it was positive to see the Flyers come out with intensity and grit on Monday night in front of the home fans.

“It was important,” Flyers forward Travis Konecny said about the team’s first period performance. “I think that last game we came out pretty good, but we left off so we corrected that. It’s not just about playing hard and fast all the time. You have to stay together and support each other and not get too far ahead. We talked, we supported each other and it helped us stay within our system and structure, and we were able to keep pressing for the majority of the game.”

“The first game we played, we played a good first period but we couldn’t capitalize on our chances,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who scored the opening goal on Monday, said. “But tonight we were able to put it in. That kind of made a difference. The second period that we had the first game wasn’t that great, and that was kind of a message in the room, just keep pressuring and keep playing the same way and we’ll be fine.”

Unlike many games last season, the Flyers scored first and kept their feet on the gas pedal, putting four more goals past last season’s Vezina finalist, Philipp Grubauer. Grubauer was eventually pulled with the Flyers up 5-1 and Chris Driedger would allow the sixth and final goal of the night. Giroux, Konecny, and Joel Farabee all scored their second respective goals of the season while new arrivals Derick Brassard and Ryan Ellis also lit the lamp with their first goals for the Flyers.

Not only did the Flyers light the lamp six times, they stood up for one another and did not let the frustration of the Kraken get the best of them. Nate Seeler and Nate Thompson were each involved in fights, standing up for teammates, showing just what energy opposing teams will see out of the Flyers this season. All-in-all, it was an outstanding team performance which sets the Flyers up nicely for Wednesday night’s showdown with the Boston Bruins on Broad Street.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

“Yeah I mean, two different games because in the one on Friday, in my estimation, we got in a lot of trouble in the second period,” Vigneault said. “Tonight, we got those big saves right off the hop. Carter was tested. He wasn’t tested last game really in that first period. He was tested, made the saves, gave confidence to our group, we scored, and in the second period we were able to get two early there. It’s a tough league but to come back from 5 is very challenging and our guys were playing well and I thought we played well for the whole game.”

“It’s still really early in the season and we’re trying to build our game,” Brassard said. “There’s still some improvement we can do we’re going to face some really good teams coming up but when teams are coming here in Philly we want them to make sure they know it’s going be a hard game and tonight was a great answer by Seeler and Thompson. There’s a lot of emotion around the building and it was a good hockey game and I’m looking forward to playing better against two good teams coming up.”

The Flyers will meet with Boston on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center before closing out a four-game homestand on Saturday against the Florida Panthers.

You can follow Larry Henry on Twitter (@lhenry019) and e-mail him at [email protected].

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