Flyers 6, Penguins 3
PHILADELPHIA — Joel Farabee had a goal and three assists, Michael Raffl, James van Riemsdyk and Nolan Patrick also scored to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first game of the NHL season.
The unconventional opener was decided when Raffl scored from the slot and beat Tristan Jarry 5:37 into the third for a 4-3 lead and the only cheers for the go-ahead goal came from Flyers fans watching at home.
The Flyers pounced from there — Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes scored 20 seconds apart to turn this one into a rout.
Mark Jankowski and Sidney Crosby scored for the Penguins.
Crosby’s goal was about expected against a team he has tortured like no other. He was greeted by strange silence in the empty arena — 20,000 Flyers fans generally lose their minds chanting “Crosby sucks!” - and he simply skated away without a boo to be heard after his tying goal.
Maple Leafs 5,
Canadiens 4, OT
TORONTO — Morgan Rielly scored at 3:24 of overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Rielly took a feed from Toronto captain John Tavares on a 2-on-1 to beat Montreal goalie Carey Price and end a chaotic extra period where both teams had chances to get the victory. William Nylander had two goals and an assist for Toronto, while Tavares added a goal and two assists. Jimmy Vesey chipped in with his first goal for the Maple Leafs, and Frederik Andersen had 28 saves.
Lightning 5, Blackhawks 1
TAMPA, Fla. — Steven Stamkos had a goal and two assists in his return to the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup, and the defending Stanley Cup champions opened the season with 5-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
Stamkos underwent surgery in early March that kept him out of all but one game in the playoffs before undergoing surgery again in October to repair the same core muscle. Wednesday’s game was the first full game Stamkos played since Feb. 22.
“It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time,’’ Stamkos said. “It’s tough sometimes in camp and those scrimmages you only have 10 days to get ready. Then you get into real action the instincts take over and you want to be out there making plays. But I felt good, I feel like I’m just going to build off of that and continue to get stronger.’’
The Lightning captain has points in 17 consecutive games — including 14 goals.
Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli, Ondrej Palat and Mathieu Joseph also scored to help Tampa Bay win its seventh consecutive season opener. Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn each finished with two assists. Andrei Vasilevskiy had 23 saves.
Dylan Strome scored for Chicago, and Malcolm Subban stopped 28 shots.
Tampa Bay raced out to a 3-0 lead in the opening period on Palat’s rebound goal on the power play, Joseph’s redirect that bounced in off Subban, and Cirelli’s deflection of Erik Cernak’s shot.
“I felt in the first period I kind of was fighting my game,’’ said Subban, who made his first start with the Blackhawks. “A couple of goals were generated off rebounds. Maybe if kept those and made some stops they don’t develop that opportunity. But you have to look to build on that game, for sure.’’
Stamkos made it 4-0 with a power play goal in the second, one-timing a shot from the left circle where he’s scored so many goals during his career.
“Really happy that he was able to score,’’ Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You really have to hand it to him for sticking with it and battling with everything he’s had to to get back into the game.’’
Point one-timed Stamkos’ pass from the slot in the third that made it 5-0 before Strome broke the shutout bid with a power-play goal that bounced in off the skate of Vasilevskiy with 3:24 remaining.
“Certainly not the way we wanted to start the year,’’ Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. “We gave up too many chances and too many goals.”
Canucks 5, Oilers 3
EDMONTON, Alberta — Brock Boeser scored twice, including the winner, as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 on Wednesday night.
Bo Horvat, Adam Gaudette, and rookie Nils Hoglander also scored for Vancouver in the first of two games in two nights between the teams. Braden Holtby made 28 saves for his first win as a Canuck.
Kailer Yamamoto, Darnell Nurse and Adam Larsson replied for Edmonton. Mikko Koskinen stopped 30 shots.
It was a back and forth game in front of no fans and canned crowd noise at Rogers Place.
The Canucks won despite not having forward J.T. Miller in the lineup. Miller, their top scorer from last season, and depth defenseman Jordie Benn had to sit out as per COVID-19 protocol.
Oilers captain McDavid, playing on his 24th birthday, was held scoreless but buzzed around the net, driving on Holtby relentlessly and drawing multiple penalties.
Oilers center Leon Draisaitl, the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner as the league’s top point-scorer last season, had one assist.
Boeser scored twice in the third period to seal the win as the Canucks took advantage of numerous Oilers defensive breakdowns.
Vancouver opened the scoring with less than five minutes to play in the first period. Tanner Pearson, racing with the puck up the right wing, managed, just before getting hit by Zack Kassian at Edmonton’s blue line, to spin and put the puck on the tape of Horvat in the slot. Horvat skated in alone and shot the puck low stick side past Koskinen.
Blues 4, Avalanche 1
DENVER — Oskar Sundqvist scored twice and blocked four shots, Jordan Binnington made 26 saves and the St. Louis Blues beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Jordan Kyrou also found the net after being recalled from the taxi squad, and new addition Kyle Clifford added another goal as the Blues scored four unanswered.
Andre Burakovsky scored early in the first period for the Avalanche, whose streak of season-opening wins was halted at four.
It was a surreal start to the season inside a mostly empty Ball Arena, where artificial noise was pumped in and on occasion would suddenly cut out. There were good-luck signs from fans lining the glass near the net before the game.
Binnington was brilliant all night, including a stop of Nathan MacKinnon's shot in the second period after the Colorado forward sped coast-to-coast, weaving through traffic.
Not only did Sundqvist score in the first and third, he also absorbed some bumps and bruises along the way. He briefly limped off after blocking a shot with his leg in the first period. He later got up slowly after crashing into the boards while trying to score.
Kyrou was recalled from the taxi squad Wednesday morning after making the trip with the team. His goal at 13:15 of the first gave the Blues a 2-1 lead. It was a nifty bit of passing that set up the score, too, as Kyrou sent the puck to Tyler Bozak, who sent it right back to Kyrou for the goal.