By Ryan Waterman
Nearly six months after the Flyers season came to a crushing end at the hands of the bitter rival Pittsburgh Penguins, the orange and black took the ice tonight as they began a new chapter in franchise history. For the most part, the Flyers returned the same team, but managed to use some of their financial flexibility to address a massive scoring need, by bringing back a familiar face in James Van Riemsdyk.
With a lot of buzz surrounding tonight's game, both teams took the ice hot, and full of energy. The Golden Knights, coming off of a Stanley Cup Final appearance, made some key additions in Max Pacioretty and Paul Statsny, and well, we've already touched on the Flyers. The energy in the T-Mobile Arena was palpable, although nothing compared to the biggest fight in UFC history set for Saturday between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurgmagamedov.
Vegas drew first blood, as rising star Jonathan Marchessault found twine at the 6:37 mark of the opening period. Things looked to be shifting in the Knights' direction following that goal, as they became the more physically urgent team with the crowd fully behind them. However, the turning point for Philadelphia was actually a self-inflicted wound. A tripping call that sent James Van Riemsdyk to the sin bin at 8:08 of the first period set up the Flyers penalty killing unit for what would be a game-changing kill. Just over a minute following the conclusion of JVR's offense, rookie Oskar Lindblom found the net with one of the prettiest moves you'll see. Philadelphia secured the upper-hand at the 18:43 mark on a puck that Wayne Simmonds was able to poke past Marc-Andre Fleury.