Good start to the season with a 6-3 win by the Flyers over the Penguins on Wednesday night. It wasn’t a masterpiece slated to hang in the Art Museum one day, but for Game No. 1, it worked out just fine.
Here are three reasons the Flyers are 1-0.
A lot of the optimism around the Flyers ahead of the season focused on their depth, particularly down the middle. It’s one game, but the full force of their forwards was on display Wednesday night. All four lines scored, with the fourth line getting the goal that put the Flyers ahead for good. Scott Laughton would not be denied as he just willed the puck through the Penguins defense and eventually found Michael Raffl alone in front.
Not to say this was total domination. The Penguins scored the first goal, and controlled play for extended stretches while 5-on-5 over the first two periods.
But the Flyers scored four of the last five goals and seemed to wear down the Penguins. The two teams will meet again on Friday (7 p.m., NBCSP).
“Every line has a really good player on it that can score some goals. Tonight, we showed that,” said Kevin Hayes. “The reason why I signed here is that every night you’re going to play with good players.”
The second line was the Flyers’ best of the night and Joel Farabee was the team’s best player.
Farabee switched from No. 49 to No. 86 this season and went out and had a career night. Perhaps the only drawback was that he couldn’t (legally) celebrate with a cold one. He won’t be 21 until Feb. 25.
Farabee had a goal and three assists and combined with Kevin Hayes and Claude Giroux to take over the last 23 minutes of the game. He became the 10th Flyer to have a four-point night before his 21st birthday. The other nine: Bill Barber, Tom Bladon, Mel Bridgman, Sean Couturier, Eric Lindros, Nolan Patrick, Brian Propp, Mike Ricci and Rick Tocchet.
Farabee had two assists on first-period power-play goals, and scored his goal late in the second to give the Flyers the lead heading into the third. Philadelphia is now 30-0-2 in the regular season under Alain Vigneault when leading after two periods.
“When you stick to a game plan and keep grinding down teams, things usually go your way,” Hayes said. “I think all the players in [our locker room] tonight stuck to the process and we got rewarded there in the third.”
Hart had the gaffe of the night when his clearing pass from behind the net was knocked down by Sidney Crosby, and swatted into the empty net. The Flyers penalty kill had been pretty strong up until that play. Hart committed the cardinal sin of trying to clear a puck up the middle, but there’s something to be said for his aggressiveness.
If not for Crosby’s world-class hand-eye coordination, Hart’s clearing attempt probably would have killed off the remainder of the Penguins penalty and we’d all be saluting the play. But that’s not the way it works.
Hart settled down and went on to stop 17 of the Penguins’ next 18 shots as the Flyers won their fifth consecutive season opener.