Both teams get right back at it: Pittsburgh is on the road to play the New York Rangers and the Flyers are at Buffalo, both on Sunday.
Philadelphia again proved it was immune to any lockout backlash: The crowd of 19,994 was the largest regular-season total in Flyers’ history.
Fans filled the parking lots to tailgate hours before faceoff and almost everyone was in some sort of team gear — and that was before they all received a free T-shirt as they entered the Wells Fargo Center.
More than 2,000 fans packed the Flyers’ practice facility for the first day of camp and another 15,000 showed up for a free, open practice on Thursday. The Flyers sold more than 17,000 season ticket packages this season and every seat was full for pregame introductions.
The Flyers aired a video tribute to their fans. Players, local dignitaries such as former Gov. Ed Rendell, and even a Ben Franklin impersonator all welcomed back fans and thanked them for sticking with the Flyers over the three-month lockout.
Flyers chairman Ed Snider told the fans on video, “We’re going to win a Cup for you this year.”
One by one, the Flyers skated out, ending with Claude Giroux’s official introduction as the 19th captain in franchise history.
The lights came on, a sold-out crowd was delirious with nine months of pent up exuberance, the arena was electric and ... Bam. Down 2-0 just in a flash.
Paul Martin’s slap shot off a faceoff deflected off Kennedy’s stick and past Ilya Bryzgalov for the power-play goal.
Neal, who scored 40 goals last season, followed almost 3 minutes later with another quick goal off a faceoff that made it 2-0 only 7:20 into the game and shushed the fired-up crowd.
Bryzgalov, who played in Russia over the lockout, had 24 saves.