Flyers

Not all hype — Flyers show off depth by rolling Penguins late in opener

Flyers

There were no 19,000-plus fans showering Sidney Crosby in boos or going bonkers over a huge third period.

But the Flyers made a night against the Penguins pretty fun for their eager fan base watching at home. Showing off the well-publicized depth and using a third-period onslaught, the Flyers ended up routing the Penguins, 6-3, in their 2020-21 regular-season opener at the Wells Fargo Center.

Joel Farabee exhibited why he was so touted in the 2018 draft by recording a goal and three assists to lead the Flyers to their fifth straight season-opening victory. The Flyers have outscored the opposition 24-13 in those last five openers.

James van Riemsdyk, Nolan Patrick, Michael Raffl, Oskar Lindblom and Kevin Hayes also potted goals.

If any Flyers fans missed this one, they've got seven more matchups with Pittsburgh to make up for it.

• All throughout training camp, the Flyers expressed excitement in their depth and what it could mean for their chances at a deep, deep playoff run.

So far, it wasn't all talk.

Twelve different Flyers recorded a point Wednesday and they ambushed the Penguins right after Pittsburgh tied the game, 3-3, a little over three minutes into the final stanza.

Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek finished with a combined three assists, and that was just fine.

Lindblom and Hayes iced the game.

• Much of the buzz about the Flyers' depth has revolved around the return of Patrick.

After missing all of last season because of a migraine disorder, Patrick gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead in the first period with a power play goal. It was first NHL game in over 650 days and his first goal since March 9, 2019.

 

Can imagine that one felt good for the 22-year-old.

Patrick won a team-high eight faceoffs and made a sharp play in the first period that eventually resulted in the Flyers' first power play opportunity and goal.

• When trying to identify breakout candidates for the Flyers this season, Farabee is right near the top of the list.

Farabee earned valuable experience last year in a chaotic rookie season for the 2018 first-round pick. He came to training camp stronger and more confident.

"He looks great, he gained some weight, he's working his butt off in practice," Giroux said.

The 20-year-old winger put up the first four-point game of his career. He didn't have more than two points in a game last season.

His goal gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead at second intermission. A smart and strategic playmaker, Farabee knows how to complement others and can play both special teams units. But he can make plays, too.

• Carter Hart was not his best. He made a bad play out of the crease that led to a game-tying Crosby goal in the second period. That's one facet of his game that is still a work in progress: his play with the puck out of the crease.

He still made 31 saves on 34 shots.

• When the Flyers signed Lindblom to his new three-year, $9 million extension in July, general manager Chuck Fletcher extolled the 24-year-old winger for his "tremendous team orientation."

"It's always about the team," Fletcher said. "He's always worried about others. And he's a hell of a hockey player."

At second intermission, Lindblom had a game-high three blocked shots. He took a nasty one at the tail end of the third period and hobbled to the bench in pain. Once the period ended, Lindblom was eventually able to make his way to the dressing room on his own power, accompanied by head coach Alain Vigneault and Flyers director of sports medicine Jim McCrossin.

Lindblom, who really deserved the moment of playing in this game and is slotted in the Flyers' top six, came back out for the third period. He scored his goal when he got clobbered by Penguins as he battled in front of the net and Konecny flipped the puck off of him.

• Over the offseason, Fletcher spoke highly about Erik Gustafsson's ability to survey the ice.

The offseason acquisition proved Fletcher wise very early with a pair of power play assists in the opening frame.

Gustafsson will take offensive risks (after all, that's his job) and he'll have to show himself in the defensive zone, but he can distribute the puck.

The Flyers went 4 for 52 on the power play in the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament.

They were 2 for 2 at first intermission Wednesday.

• Farabee isn't the only Flyer to change his number. Mark Friedman, who originally wore No. 59, switched to No. 3. He was a healthy scratch Wednesday but took the ice in warmups.

 

• Shayne Gostisbehere was unavailable because of COVID protocol. Here's more on what that will mean for the season.

• The Flyers and Penguins are back at it Friday at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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