The Flyers burst into the new NHL season with a thumping win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The keystone-state rivalry saw its 334th game tonight and it will be a highlight reel fans will want to watch over and over again. Here are a few things we learned about the team in what was a dominant win.
Chemistry is key
The theme for this offseason was continuity. The Flyers built a strong foundation in Alain Vigneault’s first year and did very little to mess with it in what was an uncertain offseason. The team preached familiarity, knowing it would breed the consistency that lacked in the playoffs. They certainly started off on the right foot.
In the 6-3 win over Pittsburgh, there was a goal from every line. It doesn’t get much better than that in terms of a total team effort. It’s only the fourth time in team history the Flyers have scored six or more in an opener.
After an understandably sloppy first period, the Flyers came alive and it was like they hadn’t lost a step. The team looked like a well-oiled machine for the remainder of the game, refusing to stop piling on the misery for their cross-state rival.
Farebee is electric
Joel Farabee had himself a game in the opener. With a goal and 3 assists to his name, the second-year winger was absolutely sensational. In fact, he became the 10th Flyer in team history to record a 4+ point game before reaching the age of 21. Did someone say wonderkid?
The Flyers find strength on the power play
There’s no doubting that the biggest complaint during the postseason was the lack of power play production. The Flyers left Toronto with a dreadful 7.7% power play percentage on 52 attempts. Alain Vigneault put a massive red circle around that heading into Training Camp and it clearly worked wonders.
The Flyers were 2/3 on the power play tonight. It’s only one game, but the contrast is staggering. The unit looked comfortable, composed, and organized more than anything else. The confidence was clearly on show and it was hard to ignore the impact that one man, in particular, bought to the unit…
The Flyers debut of dreams
Erik Gustaafsson had his doubters when he joined the Flyers as a free agent, but said on numerous occasions that this felt like the best place for him in terms of both system and culture. That very much proved to be the case on Wednesday night, with Gustaafsson tallying two assists on his debut.
The assists should ultimately be counted as goals, with a pair of vicious snipes being deflected into the net by a teammate, but he won’t mind, and neither should anyone else.
Gustaafsson added a legitimate threat from the point that the Flyers lacked last season when Ghost was out, much like tonight. His two-way presence was a catalyst for power play success and it hasn’t taken the vet long to settle into his new surroundings.
The Flyers are back in action on the 15th of January, as they look to defeat the Pens for a second time this week.
Photro Credit: Alex Mcintyre
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