It didn’t take long for Flyers defenseman Erik Gustafsson to make an impression with his new team.
Gustafsson, 28, who signed a one-year, $3 million free-agent deal in the offseason, set up two power-play goals late in the first period of Wednesday’s season opener against visiting Pittsburgh.
Only two defensemen in Flyers history have recorded more points in their debut with the club: Eric Weinrich (goal, two assists) and Paul Coffey (three assists), according to the NHL.
The power play “looked pretty good in practice the last two days, so I think all the guys felt confident,” Gustafsson said after being named the game’s second star in the Flyers’ 6-3 victory. “And [James] van Riemsdyk did a great job in front of the net.”
Because of the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and Pittsburgh right winger Kasperi Kapanen were not permitted to play Wednesday.
The players may not have the coronavirus, but they could have been exposed to someone who has it.
Claude Giroux started his ninth season as captain Wednesday. Sean Couturier is serving as an alternate captain for all games, while Ivan Provorov will serve for home games. Kevin Hayes and Jake Voracek will rotate as an alternate captain for road games.
Wednesday marked the first game of his NHL career that Provorov wore a letter. He has not missed a game in his four NHL seasons, playing in all 315 games.
Giroux has also played in all 315 games the team has played in that time frame.
Giroux entered the night with 604 games as captain, six short of the franchise high of 610 games served by Bobby Clarke. Giroux has appeared in 604 of a possible 609 games since taking over the captaincy in January of 2013, which was the start of the shortened 2012-13 season.
Since that time, he is fourth in the league in points (572) and third in assists (393), and leads the league in power-play points (232) while sitting second in power-play assists (176). His average time on ice per game (20:19) is seventh among NHL forwards during that span, and his faceoff percentage (56.4%, minimum of 6,000 faceoffs) ranks fifth in the league.
Travis Konecny played in his 300th career game and was initially credited with a goal that he correctly believed went off Oskar Lindblom. ... Nic Aube-Kubel had seven hits. ... The Flyers will meet the Penguins eight times this season, including the first two games at the Wells Fargo Center. ... Many Flyers and coach Alain Vigneault participated in a video saluting frontline workers that was shown before the game. ... Flyers assistant equipment manager Mike Lefczik took part in his 1,000th NHL game.