The 1-0-0 Philadelphia Flyers welcomed cross-state hated rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins (0-1-0) to the not so friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center. This rivalry resumes to kick off the 2020, err, 2021 National Hockey League Season.
Much akin to a boxing match, the two teams exchanged hits and goals in the first stanza. The first goal of the new season took all of 5:12 for Mark Jankowski to light the lamp behind Flyers netminder, Carter Hart.
The Flyers came into the season hoping for contribution throughout the lineup and, certainly got just that. On the man-up, off-season acquisition, Erik Gustafsson set up James Van Riemsdyk to knot things up at 1-1. Gustafson (2 assists) was not quite finished. He assisted on Nolan Patrick (1g) who scored in his first game in 650 days. Patrick had serious migraine issues and has battled back. Nolan showed he can and will contribute to coach Alain Vigneault’s talented offense. Patrick’s goal would end the first 20 minutes with the home team in front, 2-1. Gustafson and player of the game, Joel Farabee set up the goal.
Any team with Sidney “wah-wah” Crosby cannot be counted out. The enigmatic Penguin captain ripped a ten-foot unassisted wrister to knot it up. Farabee (1 goal, 3 helpers) converted a nice Kevin Hayes feed and with just 1:06 remaining in the second, the Flyers pulled to a 3-2 edge. It took all of three minutes for team Crosby to get even. Then, the Pittsburgh doors would blow off.
Nicolas Aubrey -Kubel (1 assist) and Scott Laughton (1 assist) teamed to set up Michael Raffl (1g) for the eventual game winner. The feel-good story of last season, Oskar Lindblom got on the scoresheet when he and Sean Coutourier combined to set up a Travis Konecny for an insurance tally. Just twenty seconds later, Farabee and Claude Giroux were the helpers on the Kevin Hayes final nail in the 6-3 opening night winner.
Dis and Dat
Carter Hart allowed 3 goals off of 34 chances for a .912 save percentage. His counterpart, Tristan Jarry was not so fortunate with 19 saves out of 25 chances. In all, 12 Flyers accounted for points with Farabee taking charge with a goal and three helpers. The rivalry resumes again on Friday in Pittsburgh.