For Flyers winger Jake Voracek, an ‘amazing experience’ in his homeland
Jake Voracek and the Flyers held off Chicago, 4-3, in the season opener in Prague. Voracek grew up near Prague.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic – A countless number of orange No. 93 jerseys were worn by fans Friday night in honor Flyers right winger Jake Voracek, a hero in the Czech Republic, at their season-opening 4-3 win over Chicago in Prague.
Voracek went pointless, but that didn’t matter to him.
Both teams put on a great show, the arena percolated with energy, and the Flyers got off to a nice start.
“I didn’t get a point, but we found a way to win the game,” Voracek said. “All our lines played pretty well. And I liked the way our line played, to be honest. Sometimes I put up 80 points and you guys are bashing me that we didn’t make the playoffs. If I put up 50 points and we make the playoffs – I’m in my 30s now – and that’s the main focus.”
Voracek said going back to his homeland and playing before a record arena crowd was “an amazing experience.”
Despite not playing any preseason games because he rehabbed from wrist surgery, right winger Tyler Pitlick was on the fourth line and he contributed an assist and played nearly 10 minutes. He set up what turned out to be the winning goal, scored by Michael Raffl on a wraparound.
By putting Pitlick in the lineup without any preseason games, the Flyers showed their confidence in the 6-foot-2, 200-pound winger.
“They know what I bring and I guess it’s a good feeling for me that they feel that way,” he said before the game. “But it doesn’t matter because if I don’t play well, that will be that. So I still need to play well to stay.”
He as on the fourth line with Raffl and center Connor Bunnaman.
“Three big bodies who can skate well,” Pitlick said. “We’re going to get on the forecheck, be physical, and make life hard for them.”
The Flyers entered the game with 15 straight regular-season home wins over Chicago since 1996. Officially, the Flyers were the home team Friday – the crowd seemed to slightly favor the Orange and Black -- so they have technically won 16 in a row when they were the home team in the series.
Travis Konecny had the seventh two-goal game of his career. … Bunnamn and Carsen Twarynski made their NHL debuts. Bunnaman had two shots in in 11:06 and was plus-1, while Twarynski had a shot and two hits in 11:57. … Sean Couturier (12 for 16, 75 percent) and Claude Giroux (10 for 16, 63 percent) were dominating in the faceoff circle. … The Flyers play their home opener Wednesday against New Jersey and Wayne Simmonds. About 1,000 tickets remain.