The Philadelphia Flyers opened the 2017-18 NHL season with a road game against San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, October 5. The Flyers are looking to return to the playoffs after only tallying 39 wins and 88 points last season. They would also like to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Both of these goals are going to be extremely difficult for a young Philadelphia team that is still rebuilding, but they looked very impressive pulling off a 5-3 win over the Sharks yesterday.
The Flyers got off to a good start on Wednesday when Claude Giroux gave them the lead only eight minutes into the game. Jordan Weal added another goal less than three minutes later on the power play. The San Jose Sharks proved why they are considered one of the best teams in the NHL when they responded with two goals at the end of the first period to tie the game. Kevin Labanc scored both goals for the Sharks.
Lebanc was the hero for San Jose in the first period, but his slashing penalty late in the second period opened the door for the Flyers. It only took Wayne Simmonds 12 seconds to score on the power play. Labanc committed another bad penalty in the third period after the Sharks tied the game at three. Simmonds only needed six seconds this time to give the Flyers another lead. The star winger scored his third goal in the final minute of the game to help the Flyers get the 5-3 win. The hat trick recorded by Wayne Simmonds is the first time a Flyers player has achieved the feat in the first game of the season.
Flyers fans everywhere will be extremely happy to see the team score four goals on the power play after the unit struggled mightily in the preseason. It is also a good sign to see Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds getting off to a hot start. With Brayden Schenn now playing in St. Louis, the Flyers are going to need big seasons from Giroux and Simmonds if they want to advance to the postseason.
Brian Elliot may not have had a perfect game, but he found a way to make big saves during several key moments in the game. Elliot should provide stability to the goalie position that Philadelphia desperately needed last year. If Elliot can consistently stop close to 92 percent of his save chances, then the Flyers will be in a great position to succeed this season.