(UPDATED at 12:50 p.m.: D Matt Walker did not take part in the morning skate, so it appears Andreas Lilja will be the sixth D man tonight. It will be a game-time decision.)
BOSTON _ As the Flyers prepare for Thursday night's season opener in Boston, they have a very relaxed goaltender.
Ilya Bryzgalov, the central figure in the Flyers’ revamped lineup, didn’t seemed fazed about making his first start for his new team. He joked with reporters and gave few serious answers after Wednesday's practice.
“Life is all about the fun, you know,” he said. “If you came to work and you didn’t feel the fun, it’s nothing good. When you come to work and enjoy your work, good things happen.”
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In last year’s playoff sweep, Boston outscored the Flyers, 20-7.
“The first game is always exciting, especially going into Boston after what they did to us last year,” winger Scott Hartnell said. “It’s going to be a war out there.”
The Flyers, Cup-less since 1975, have 10 new players on their roster, so it may take a while to become a cohesive unit.
The most explosive new line looks to be the unit that has Claude Giroux centering Jaromir Jagr and James van Riesmdyk.
“I think we have a little chemistry going,” Giroux said.
In the preseason, Jagr scored four goals _ three on the power play _ and didn’t look his age.
“I guess 39 is the new 20,” Giroux quipped.
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Here are the lines and pairings the Flyers are expected to use in the opener:
- Giroux centering van Riemsdyk and Jagr.
- Danny Briere centering Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds.
- Sean Couturier centering Hartnell and Matt Read.
- Max Talbot centering Zac Rinaldo and Andreas Nodl.
Defensive pairings: Chris Pronger and Carle; Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros; Braydon Coburn and Matt Walker/Andreas Lilja.
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The Flyers will have three rookies (Couturier, Read and Rinaldo) in a season opener for the first time since 1993.
"They proved in camp that they’re good hockey players," coach Peter Laviolette said. "They’ll be put in certain roles that we're counting on them to play and we’ll keep working with them and teaching them. But their camps were good and they deserve to be here."
Added Laviolette: "They should enjoy it. They’re going out to play the Boston Bruins; they’re the defending Cup champs, so what a great opportunity.....I’m sure they’re excited about it, and we’re excited to have them in there.”
Before Thursday, the last time the Flyers had three rookies play in an opener was in 1993, when Jason Bowen, Mikael Renberg and Stewart Malgunas were in the lineup in a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh.
Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BroadStBull.
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