Quick start spoils Flyers' debut

By Sean Greene 7:11pm, January 19, 2013
VIDEO: Scott Hartnell on a tough opening loss (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Pittsburgh picked up goals from Tyler Kennedy and James Neal in the opening eight minutes, then held off the Flyers for a 3-1 season opening victory Saturday.

In the first game for both teams after the lengthy NHL lockout, Pittsburgh quickly attacked Flyers' goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, scoring twice on their first six shots of the contest.

Braydon Coburn was penalized for interference at the 2:47 mark, and Pittsburgh made the Flyers pay with 7 seconds remaning on the man advantage when Kennedy deflected home a Paul Martin shot to make it 1-0.

Just under three minutes later the lead swelled to two, when Evgeni Malkin's faceoff win went back to James Neal, who cleanly beat Bryzgalov double the advantage.

The Flyers managed only one shot on 5-on-5 situations in the opening period, but their first such shot in the 2nd period came just 23 seconds into the stanza, when Scott Hartnell's pass found new-captain Claude Giroux who saucered a shot over the sliding pad of Marc-Andre Fleury to cut the Pens' lead in half.

The game remained 2-1 late into the third period, when the Flyers had a pair of man-advantage opportunities, but Fleury had the answer for all six shots, and an empty-net, power-play goal by Chris Kunitz doomed the Flyers to defeat.

Bryzgalov stopped the final 21 shots he saw, but picked up the loss. Fleury stopped 26 of the Flyers 27 shots on the night.

The Flyers quickly turn around and face Buffalo on the road Sunday afternoon at 12:30. Their next home game is Thursday against the Rangers.

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