NHL Game Summary - Buffalo at Philadelphia
(Thursday, October 9th)
Final Score: Philadelphia 2, Buffalo 0
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Jeff Hackett stopped all 17 shots he faced in his Flyers' debut, as Philadelphia blanked Buffalo, 2-0, in the season opener for both teams at the Wachovia Center.
Mark Recchi and Michal Handzus both scored on the power play for Philadelphia, which signed Hackett as a free agent in the offseason.
Former Hobey Baker winner Ryan Miller unexpectedly got the nod in net for Buffalo in place of incumbent starter Marty Biron. Miller dazzled at times, notching 24 saves, but got no help from his offense.
Shortly after the start of the third period, with the scoreboard still empty, Recchi found the back of the net. With Alexei Zhitnik off for tripping, highly touted Flyers' rookie defenseman Joni Pitkanen corralled the puck at the point and wristed a shot towards Miller. The save was made, but Recchi slammed home the round from the doorstep for a 1-0 Flyers' lead at 1:01 of the final period. Pitkanen, who registered his first NHL point, and Justin Williams assisted on the tally.
Just over five minutes later, Philadelphia opened up a two-goal lead. After failing to convert on a two-man advantage but still skating 5-on-4, a shot from the point by Eric Desjardins failed to make its way to the goal mouth. However, Handzus blindly backhanded the disc past Miller at 6:09, allowing the Flyers to cruise to the 2-0 victory.
Both teams had solid scoring chances in the opening period, but failed to finish them off. Midway through the stanza, Sabres' forward Taylor Pyatt took a nice feed near the right post, but lifted the puck over the net. Soon after at the other end, Sami Kapanen was wide open in the low slot, but misfired.
A boarding call on Keith Primeau, who slammed Miroslav Satan into the boards from behind, injected life into both teams in the second period as they skated up and down the ice with great scoring chances on both ends. Buffalo, which received a five-minute power play on the boarding penalty when Satan went down, did not mount a whole lot of pressure with the extra skater.
With about six minutes to go in the frame, Philadelphia went on a four-minute power play. Recchi found the puck on his stick twice from close range and the Flyers had other quality scoring chances, but Miller was simply better as the game remained scoreless.
Both teams had six chances with the man advantage.
Hackett became the first Flyers' netminder to post a shutout in his debut since John Vanbeisbrouck accomplished the feat five years ago to the day...Primeau also received a game misconduct for the hit on Satan... Flyers' winger John LeClair will miss the first two-to-four weeks of the season due to a broken bone in his left foot suffered during practice on Sunday...Besides Miller and Biron, the Sabres are carrying a third goaltender, Mika Noronen...Philadelphia improved to 17-13-7 all-time in season openers, while the Sabres fell to 18-13-3...Satan, Buffalo's leading scorer last season, was shaken up after the hit from behind, but returned to the game.
10/10 01:33:53 ET