By Michael Fuchs
Joel Farabee had a goal and three assists, Michael Raffl, James van Riemsdyk and Nolan Patrick also scored to lead the Flyers to a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 22-year-old Patrick, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft, scored in his first game since April 2, 2019.
Oskar Lindblom, who returned to play in the NHL restart bubble, nearly scored a goal when a puck that went off his helmet was credited to a teammate.
“They had their own journeys and we’re just happy they’re back,” Farabee said.
Raffl scored from the slot and beat Tristan Jarry 5:37 into the third for a 4-3 lead and the only cheers for the go-ahead goal came from Flyers fans watching at home.
The Flyers pounced from there — Lindblom and Kevin Hayes scored 20 seconds apart to turn this one into a rout.
Mark Jankowski, Brandon Tanev and Sidney Crosby scored for the Penguins.
Crosby’s goal was about expected against a team he has tortured like no other.
He was greeted by strange silence in the empty arena — 20,000 Flyers fans generally lose their minds chanting “Crosby sucks!” — and he simply skated away without a boo to be heard after his tying goal.
Crosby’s 44th goal against the Flyers, more than any other team in the league, in 71 games was one of his best. Carter Hart tried to clear the puck from behind the net and his lazy pass was batted down by Crosby and poked in an empty net to make it 2-2.
Jankowski, who scored just five goals last season, scored the first one of this season 5:12 into the game. Tanev beat Hart, who had 31 saves, early in the third to make it 3-3.
“I think it’s just how the puck goes and the bounces,” Tanev said. “They weren’t going our way. I thought we played a great game. I thought we had a lot of great chances.”
Erik Gustafsson had to settle for assists on two shots that seemed destined to find the back of the net in the first period. His first slapper knocked off van Riemsdyk’s stick to tie it 1-1. Gusafsson’s next shot was deflected by Patrick with 7.8 seconds to make it 2-1.
“It was a really good shot by Gus to get it through and I was able to get a stick on the puck and tip it in,” van Riemsdyk said.
Farabee scored late in the second period to put the Flyers ahead 3-2 in a game that — minus Gritty’s shenanigans — had all the atmosphere of a morning skate.
“It was a weird offseason. My mindset was just to stay ready,” the 20-year-old Farabee said.
Farabee had assists on van Riemsdyk, Patrick and Hayes’ goals.