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Flyers 5, Vegas 2 – Opening Night Recap

What a way to open the Gritty Era.

Las Vegas finished last year 29-10-2 at home, one of the best marks in the league. Through two matches in Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena, the Philadelphia Flyers are 2-0-0 with a 9-3 goal differential. This marks the third straight opening day win, and the third straight on the west coast.

Vegas struck first after a stretch pass caught Philadelphia in a half-change. Andrew MacDonald realized he had left his half of the ice open, and Jonathan Marchessault took full advantage and ripped one short side for the first Knight goal of 2018.

Things didn’t look good for Philadelphia until about ten minutes in, and something switched. Brian Elliott became a very real brick wall, and the Flyers potted five goals in the next 22 minutes of play.

Former Flyer Pierre-Edouard Bellemare managed a shorthanded goal on a shifty move on Elliott, but the defense held strong as Vegas pushed hard.

Michael Raffl played a great game in the offensive zone, protecting the puck and cycling passes up and down the boards at will. He was finally rewarded with a secondary assist on the fifth goal.

Oskar Lindblom (wearing his new number 23 sweater) scored the first goal of Philadelphia’s season from a nice 2-on-1 feed from Travis Sanheim. He banks the puck off a Vegas defenseman’s skate and in.

Marc-Andre Fleury was actually pulled after the fifth goal, replaced by Malcom Subban. He stopped everything he saw, though the Flyers had taken their foot off the gas to defend the four goal lead.


Brian Elliott made 23 saves, allowing one even strength goal.

Philadelphia was 51.8% on faceoffs, led by Claude Giroux (7 for 11).

Vegas rang pucks off the iron all night, at least three times, including one shot that hit both posts and stayed out.

On special teams, the Flyers converted 1/4 attempts on the powerplay and killed all three shorthanded situations— including a huge 5-on-3 situation to keep Vegas from rallying early in the third.

Wayne Simmonds has five goals in the last two season opening games.

Mikhail Vorobyev tallied his first NHL point with a secondary assist on a Hägg goal. Hägg enjoyed his first multi-point game, with a goal and an assist. He added six hits, second behind Simmonds (7) for the team lead.

For the final statline:

James van Riemsdyk notched his 100th point as a Flyer, finding Robert Hägg on an odd man rush with a ton of space.

Giroux and Jakub Voracek also reached milestones tonight: Giroux took third place all time for assists by a Flyer, and Voracek’s 400th assist in his career came within minutes of one another.

1-0-0. Next puck drop is Saturday night in Denver.

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