John Tortorella knew throughout the course of training camp that he wasn’t going to have a choice. The 2022-23 Philadelphia Flyers, at least to start the season, were going to be heavy on young players. In total, 12 of the 23 on the roster are age 25 and under.
On Thursday night in the season opener, the team that scored just eight goals in six preseason games got five goals, all from players who fall into that youthful category, as the Flyers claimed a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center.
The Devils were the team to get on the board first. On their second power play of the first period, Alexander Holtz took a chip pass from Jesper Bratt and from an angle beat Carter Hart between the glove and left pad to score and make it 1-0 New Jersey at 8:01.
Just 23 seconds later, the Flyers had an answer. A point shot by Ivan Provorov reached netminder Mackenzie Blackwood and left a rebound for Wade Allison in the crease. Allison knocked it home for the Flyers first goal of the season to even things up.
Through 20 minutes, the Devils had a 10-8 lead in shots.
The Devils had an early push in the second, but Hart shut the door, eventually allowing the Flyers to get their footing and grab the lead.
At 10:39, Provorov won a battle along the boards in the neutral zone, forwarding the puck to Kevin Hayes. Hayes set up Travis Konecny entering the zone, and Konecny released a shot that beat Blackwood to make it 2-1.
Again, 23 seconds after the goal, the Flyers were back on the board. Tanner Laczynski made a great backhand centering pass to Morgan Frost for the one-timer, making it a 3-1 game at 11:02.
Through two periods, the Devils had a 25-16 lead in shots.
The Flyers carried over power-play time into the third and just 1:31 into the period, made the most of it. Again, Hayes set up Konecny for a quick release to make it 4-1.
The Devils got a goal back from Damon Severson at 9:26 of the third, but Hart was solid again down the stretch. With the net empty, Frost got his second goal of the game after his centering play was knocked into the net by Dougie Hamilton with 1:59 to play in the third.
Seven Flyers finished with two points. Frost and Konecny each had two goals. Provorov, Hayes, Laczynski, James van Riemsdyk, and Tony DeAngelo each had two assists.
Hart made 35 saves on 37 shots in the win. Blackwood stopped 20 of 24 shots in the loss.
Owen Tippett left the game after the first period and did not return.
The Flyers next get on the ice on Saturday afternoon to face the Vancouver Canucks at 4 p.m.