After a layoff of over five months, the Philadelphia Flyers are set to kick-off the 2021 NHL campaign against the Pittsburgh Penguins next Wednesday, January 13th.
For the first time in over ten years, the Flyers will face off against the Pittsburgh ice chickens to start the season.

This season opener for the Flyers will be unlike any other they’ve played before as they’re going to be playing to an empty Wells Fargo Center with no fans in attendance. Although the Penguins might have an advantage in this game since they’re very familiar with playing in a half-empty arena with a few fans.Jokes aside, the Flyers season opener, unfortunately, won’t be as great as in previous years when they’ve played at home with a buzzing Wells Fargo Center.


So, before the Flyers kick off their season, I figured now would be a great time to rank the five best Orange and Black’s best season openers from the 20 years.


5) 2000-01 Opener vs. Vancouver Canucks 

On October 5th, 2000 the Flyers opened the season at home inside the First Union Center and defeated the Canucks 6-3. The opener was the rookie debut for Justin Williams, who would go on to record 3 points that night and 316 total points in his career. The first goal of the night was scored by Williams in the 3rd minute of the first period. The Canucks would then follow it up by scoring two straight unanswered short-handed goals in 3 minutes to take the lead.

Photo: Elite Sports NY

The Flyers would answer by scoring two unanswered goals and a total of 3 goals in the 2nd period to take a 4-3 lead. One of the Flyer’s 2nd-period goals was scored by Eric Desjardins in the final seconds of the period. Desjardins scored two straight powerplay goals including the goal at the end of the 2nd and the 1st goal of the 3rd period which came courtesy of a Matt Cooke tripping penalty.

The final goal of the night was an empty netter that came from Daymond Langkow which was his first as a Flyer.


4) 2001-02 Opener vs. Florida Panthers 

On October 4th, 2001 the Flyers opened up their season at home inside the First Union Center and defeated the Panthers 5-2. In the first 3 minutes of the game, there were two goaltender interference penalties which were awarded to the Panthers Jason Wiemer and the Flyers Jeremy Roenick.

Photo: Litter Box Cats

The Panthers would strike first in the 8th minute of the 1st with a goal from Kristian Huselius. Eric Weinrich would then answer for the Flyers in the 16th minute of the 1st period, thanks to an assist from Justin Williams and Jeremy Roenick. The Flyers would then rattle off 3 straight unanswered goals scored by Justin Williams, John LeClair, and Jeremy Roenick to take a 4-1 lead. The final goal of the night was scored by Justin Williams on an empty net to seal the 5-2 victory.

On that night, Justin Williams would seal his candidacy for one of the best season opener players of all-time as he scored 3 points against the Panthers and 3 points against the Canucks in the previous season opener.


3) 2007-08 Opener vs. Calgary Flames

On October 4th, 2007 the Flyers opened up their season in Calgary, Alberta inside the Saddledome, and defeated the Flames 3-2.The first goal of the game was scored in the 3rd minute of the 1st period by recent offseason addition Danny Briere, who netted his first goal of many in a Flyers sweater.


The Flyers would then benefit from 2 Calgary penalties when Simon Gagne fed Mike Knuble for a one-timer goal on the 5-on-3 power play to put the Flyers up 2-0.


Calgary would score two straight unanswered powerplay goals which both came from former Flyer Daymond Langkow. In the 18th minute of the 3rd period, Simon Gagne got on a breakaway and find Danny Briere who would score the winning goal of the night.The Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff didn’t have a great night (.885 SV%) overall but he made a lot of very clutch saves for the Flames to keep them competitive in the game till the end.


2) 2010-11 Opener vs. Pittsburgh Penguins


 


On October 7th, 2010 the Flyers opened up their season in Pittsburgh in the first-ever regular-season game at the CONSOL Energy Center and defeated the Penguins 3-2. Danny Briere would score the first goal ever at the Penguin’s new arena in the 2nd minute of the 2nd period from a powerplay.In the 17th minute of the 2nd period, Blair Betts would notch the 2nd goal for the Orange and Black to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead headed into the 3rd period. Claude Giroux would then score a shorthanded goal courtesy of a lazy pass from the Pens Kris Letang.This was the first regular-season game for the Flyers after their loss to the Blackhawks in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals. Sergei “Detective” Bobrovsky would make his NHL debut in the game when he got the start over Brian Boucher.


1) 2019-20 Opener vs. Chicago Blackhawks 

Finally, last season the Flyers season opener started with a bang as they faced off with the Chicago Blackhawks in Prague, Czech Republic, and defeated the Blackhawks 4-3.The scoring would open in the 7th minute of the 1st period when Travis Konecny would rip a wrist shot past Corey Crawford.


The Blackhawks would answer a minute later with a goal from Alexander Nylander. The Flyers would then get two unanswered goals in the 2nd period from Lindblom and Konecny to take a 3-1 lead.


The Flyers parade would then temporarily get rained on from an Alex DeBrincat powerplay goal which would come from a Claude Giroux slashing penalty. In the 3rd period, the Flyers Michael Raffl and Blackhawks Patrick Kane would both score, and the Flyers would notch their first win of a very odd season to come.This game was the coming-out party for the Konecny, who would go off on a goal-scoring tear in the first half of the 2019-20 season and lead himself to a 2020 NHL All-Star Game selection.


Featured Image: NHL.com
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