5 Observations: Kids Are Impressive as Flyers Whip NJ, 5-2, in Opener
New coach, different result.
The Philadelphia Flyers and their young players thrived Thursday as they opened their season with a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center.
Wade Allison, Travis Konecny (two), and Morgan Frost (two, including an empty-netter) — all 25 years old or under — scored the Flyers’ goals in the victory, the first game under demanding new coach John Tortorella.
With a big, energetic crowd watching, defenseman Ivan Provorov’s stellar all-around performance helped the Flyers raise their career record to 27-19-9 in season openers.
“We knew we were going to have the energy tonight,” Konecny said. “Our camp’s been so high-tempo. We’ve just been skating (hard), and it just shows that, no matter what happens out there, as long as you stay together and put your head down and go to work, good things are going to happen for you.”
The only negative: Right winger Owen Tippett suffered an upper-body injury late in the first period and did not return. He was in a collision with Ondrej Palat, and no injury update was available after the game.
Here are five quick observations on the win:
Torts: “I thought we played our ass off.” #Flyers pic.twitter.com/bRO4j433R8
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) October 14, 2022
1. Blink, and you missed the second-period goals that deflated the Devils.
Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost scored 23 seconds apart in the second to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead.
Konecny put his slot shot through a defenseman’s legs and past sprawling goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood. Frost then took a great feed from Tanner Laczynski (first NHL point) — who was behind the goal line — and scored from the left circle with 8:58 to go in the period.
Overjoyed, Frost skated to the sideboards and punched the glass.
Watch the crafty backhand pass by Laczynski that set up the goal ….
🥶🥶🥶🥶🥶#FueledByPhilly | @_morganfrost_10 pic.twitter.com/zD0TICyNfk
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) October 14, 2022
Konecny added his second goal of the night, this one on a well-run power play early in the third period, to give the Flyers a 4-1 cushion.
“I think for me, it’s about getting quality shots,” he said.
In the preseason, GM Chuck Fletcher said he needed more from Konecny, who managed just 16 goals last season.
So far, so good.
2. Carter Hart outplayed Mackenzie Blackwood
Hart did not play in the preseason because of an undisclosed injury. No matter. After giving up a rather soft power-play goal in the first period, he was very good the rest of the way. Overall, he stopped 34 of 36 shots.
He badly outplayed Mackenzie Blackwood, who allowed four goals on the first 20 shots he faced.
3. Ivan Provorov was a beast.
Provorov, who had Tony DeAngelo as his his partner, could not have played a better game. He had two assists, five hits, 10 blocks — one that saved a goal — and was plus-4.
DeAngelo, a South Jersey native who had 200 relatives and friends at the game, also had two assists and was plus-3. He played a team-high 23:46.
After the game, Provorov said their quick chemistry even surprised him. They were only together in one preseason game because Provorov was injured.
4. The Flyers had little discipline in the first period.
The Flyers gave New Jersey three power plays in the opening 20 minutes, taking them out of their rhythm on offense. New Jersey capitalized on one of the penalties, taking a 1-0 lead as Alexander Holtz’s left-circle shot trickled through Hart, who will want that one back.
The penalties that put the Devils on power plays were on Owen Tippett (boarding), Morgan Frost (holding), and Scott Laughton (cross-checking). Tony DeAngelo and New Jersey’s Nathan Bastian went off for roughing late in the period.
To the Flyers’ credit, they had no penalties the rest of the way.
We've been Wading for this. #NJDvsPHI | #FueledByPhilly pic.twitter.com/An0VuYKCOE
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) October 13, 2022
After the Devils scored first, Wade Allison answered quickly for Philly.
I’m not sure if anyone on the Philadelphia Flyers was more excited to make the opening-night roster than Allison, whose injury-filled past has been well-documented.
Allison got rewarded for going hard to the net and putting in a rebound with 11:36 left in the first. It came just 23 seconds after Holtz’s goal, which was a good sign.
“That may have been the turning point of the game,” Hart said.
Last season, the Flyers seemed to shrivel up and have a defeatist attitude when they fell behind.
Story coming. #Flyers https://t.co/eta2GBx5Rc
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) October 13, 2022
5. Why was this game only shown to paid subscribers?
You would think the NHL wouldn’t want to alienate its Philadelphia fan base on opening night, right?
But the league managed to do just that as the game was shown only to subscribers who pay for ESPN+ or Hulu.
Tortorella said a couple big hits by Nick Deslauriers revived the Flyers in the second period before they scored two goals in the stanza. … Kevin Hayes had a pair of assists. … Rasmus Ristolainen missed the game with an undisclosed injury and is day to day. … Justin Braun took Risto’s spot next to Travis Sanheim on the second pairing. The third pairing had Egor Zamula, making his first appearance in an opener, with Nick Seeler. … Injured defenseman Ryan Ellis received lots of boos when introduced. Give him credit. He smiled as he heard them. … The Flyers will practice at noon Friday in Voorhees; they host Vancouver on Saturday at 4 on NBCSP.