Game One Of 56: Three Plus’s & One Minus from Opening Game

The Flyers hockey season is officially underway.

Game One of 56 has concluded with a 6-3 victory for the orange & black. The Flyers don’t play again until Friday night, once again against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A very minor league baseball like schedule this year for the NHL to cut down on travel due to COVID-19. Here are three plus’s and one minus from the basement that I observed from Wednesday’s game.

 

Plus’s +: Joel Farabee

One of my bold predictions I wrote down in my notes and joked on my Twitter was that Joel Farabee would have 33 points in 56 games. Well, after Wednesday’s game he’s on pace for 224 points. Somewhere, Wayne Gretzky shaking in his boots, his season points record set at 215 is in clear danger.

The Farabee-Giroux-Hayes line was one of AV’s bright spots in my opinion on the first game of the season. The 20 year old had his first career four point night and Flyers fans, trust me get more used to that. The Cicero, New York native said he really worked hard in the off-season and now we believe the newly numbered #86.

He just looks stronger and confident as he looks to prepare a bigger role with Philadelphia this season. Farabee just looks so relaxed on the Wells Fargo Center ice. Coming into his second camp and sophomore season the soon to be 21 year old gained nine pounds since the conclusion of the 2020 season.

Farabee spoke to reporters via Zoom before the season began.

“The first year gave me a good idea of where I needed to be for my second year,” he said. “I spent a lot of time back at home working out, trying to build a lot of leg muscle and stuff like that. … So I’m definitely feeling strong, feeling good and ready to get going here.”

Ending Wednesday’s victory Farabee after one game is the NHL’s scoring leader and immediately puts himself as a front runner for the Art Ross Trophy. Farabee had a stellar night with (1G, 3A).

Erik Gustafsson

Well Well Well, After one game GM Chuck Fletcher looks like an absolute genius with this contract. After signing the 28 year old Nynashamn, Sweden native veteran to a one year and $3,000,000 deal, the defenseman has two points (2A). Now let’s not get crazy it’s only one game but Gustafasson really improves this Flyers second power-play along side Nolan Patrick, Joel Farabee, Jakub Voracek and James van Riemsdyk. Two for three isn’t too shabby.

We shall see what Gustafsson’s role will be when Shayne Gostisbehere comes off the COVID-19 Protocol. But so far if I’m the Flyers management, I’m liking what i’m seeing after 60 minutes of hockey. The defenseman finished with 90 seconds of man advantage time and rounding out with 18:02 of ice time. But overall he deserves the second plus of the night.

 

Gritty & Kevin Hayes’s Relationship

When these two first officially met, they were inseparable and after the Flyers home opener glad to see nothing’s changed. He even helped Hayes earn himself his first goal of the year after a saucer pass which was a beautiful deep dish rebound from a shot from the captain Claude Giroux.

I was afraid that we weren’t going to see much of Gritty on Wednesday but NBCSN didn’t disappoint in screen time for the NHL’s most beloved mascot. Between the signs and celebrations and the cardboard cutout you just have to love these two and hope that they never break up.

We even got our first “Coots There it is!” of the year of many (I hope).

Honorable Mention

Nolan Patrick who played his first game in nearly two calendar years. (1G, -2).

Minus

Carter Hart

Now I know that I’m going to get some heat like Shawn Michaels did with the Montreal Screwjob in November of 1997 at Survivor Series in the Bell Centre by screwing over Brett Hart but “knock, knock, Who is it, Cartahhh Hart” as Kevin Hayes would say did not look good in Wednesday’s game.

Now yes, it’s one game but it’s something to keep in an eye on. A total of 60 minutes played. With 31 saves on 34 shots for a save percentage of .912. That looks great on paper but the PK mistake he made when the 22 year old should have just handed off the puck to Robert Hagg who was waiting on the left side.

A risky dump down the ice didn’t pay off as Sid “The Kid” knocked the biscuit down and scored his first of the season. Now, it wasn’t flashy by any means but it did give Coach Mike Sullivan’s Pittsburgh Penguins life at that exact moment in the game.

I’ll be back with three plus’s and one minus on Friday night as the Flyers take on the Penguins for the second time this season and for their second game of the year. Until then be well, stay safe and let’s go Flyers!