The Flyers will attempt to start their season with a 2-0 record for the first time since 2011-12 when they host New Jersey in their home opener Wednesday.
“I know it’s a cliche, but we have to keep it simple and work hard,” captain Claude Giroux said after Wednesday’s morning skate at the Wells Fargo Center. “Play it like a road game.”
A sellout crowd is expected.
Giroux said, “Anytime you play your first game at home, it has a different feel to it. We have something to prove, and our fans are going to be ready to go. Every season opener, they’ve been great. I’m looking forward to it."
Seeing former Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds in a Devils jersey “will be a little bizarre,” Giroux said. “Wayne did a lot for this organization and the city. He was a great teammate. We always joked about it when we played together that we can’t wait to play against each other. Wayne is the type of guy that, when he moves to another team, you really wish he does well. A lot of people know Wayne as a great hockey player, but he’s just a great person to start with.”
The Flyers are 28-17-6 in all-time home openers, excluding Friday’s 4-3 win over Chicago in Prague, when they technically were designated as the host team by the NHL.
“We didn’t start the season too well last year, so we want to start better, and this is important,” left winger Oskar Lindblom said of the home opener.
After Wednesday, the Flyers head to Western Canada -- a tough place to win -- and face Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. That increases the importance of Wednesday’s game.
“You always want a good record at home. It starts tonight, and we have to be ready to go,” defenseman Justin Braun said. “We have to be ready at the drop of the puck and can’t get into a hole.”
The Flyers allowed opponents to take a 2-0 lead a staggering 32 times last season, but they scored first against Chicago on Friday and never trailed in the game. The Flyers said they don’t believe there will be a hangover from traveling to Prague for that game and now playing for the first time in five nights.
The Flyers will use the same lineup that defeated the Blackhawks:
* Kevin Hayes centering Giroux and Jake Voracek.
* Sean Couturier centering Lindblom and Travis Konecny.
* Scott Laughton centering James van Riemsdyk and Carsen Twarynski.
* Connor Bunnaman centering Michael Raffl and Tyler Pitlick.
* Ivan Provorov and Braun.
* Travis Sanheim and Matt Niskanen.
* Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg.
* Goalie: Carter Hart.