Wayne Simmonds scored two goals, and Brian Elliott made 23 saves as the visiting Philadelphia Flyers cruised to a 5-2 victory over the defending Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights in the season opener for both teams on Thursday night in Las Vegas.
Robert Hagg had a goal and an assist, and Oskar Lindblom and Scott Laughton also scored goals for Philadelphia, which finished third in the Metropolitan Division last season. Jakub Voracek added two assists.
Jonathan Marchessault and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare each scored for Vegas, which before the game raised championship banners for winning both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference during a storybook expansion that ended up with a 4-1 series loss to the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Final.
Marc-Andre Fleury had 11 saves and also was credited with an assist on Marchessault’s goal before giving way to Malcolm Subban midway through the second period after allowing his fifth goal. Subban stopped all nine shots he faced.
Marchessault, coming off a 27-goal campaign, gave the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead just 6:37 into the game, coming in free along the left boards as Vegas caught the Flyers in a line change and then beating Elliott stick-side with a wrist shot.
The Flyers rebounded to score five consecutive goals, the final three over a span of 4:19. Lindblom started the onslaught at the 11:24 mark of the first period, sliding a backhand past Fleury at the end on a two-on-one rush. The puck deflected in off defenseman Nick Holden’s skate.
Simmonds’ first goal came near the end of the period with an easy tip-in by the right post. Hagg’s shot from the right circle spun near the goal line and was cleared across the crease by Oscar Lindberg to Simmonds, who was wide open.
Simmonds then made it 3-1 with a power-play goal just 2:58 into the second period, taking a crossing pass from Voracek near the left post and sliding it under Fleury. It was career assist No. 400 for Voracek. Claude Giroux, who passed the puck to Voracek to start the play, also picked up an assist, the 464th of his career, passing Bill Barber for third place on the all-time Flyers list.
Philadelphia then broke the game open with two goals in a 66-second span. The first was by Hagg on a wrist shot from the slot off a nice pass from the boards by James van Riemsdyk, and the second by Laughton on a highlight-reel, behind-the-back redirect of a Radko Gudas shot from the right point.
Bellemare cut it to 5-2 with an unassisted, short-handed goal midway through the third period to end the scoring.
—Field Level Media