Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/19/13
PHILADELPHIA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins opened their 2013 season by winning at a place where their 2012 season ended bitterly. Tyler Kennedy and James Neal scored in a span of 2:40 in the first period and the Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 Saturday afternoon in a rematch of a 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals series. "I think there is always a little bit extra in the air here playing here in Philadelphia and we know it's a tough building to come in to," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "Obviously, with the history I think everyone gets up for them, so we knew exactly what was to be expected and, like I said, nice to get that first win." Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots to win his 227th game, passing Tom Barrasso for first place on Pittsburgh's all-time list. "It's flattering," Fleury said. "It shows I've played with good teammates. I always looked up to Barrasso. It's an honor." The teams kicked off the lockout-shortened 48-game NHL schedule with a performance that was crisper than most expected considering they haven't played in several months. "You have to expect it's not going to be so great so you have to adjust your expectation level," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. Reigning league MVP Evgeni Malkin had an assist and Crosby was held without a point, but the Penguins won in the arena where their season ended in a disappointing fashion last April. Flyers captain Claude Giroux had Philadelphia's only goal. He was named the 19th captain in team history earlier in the week. "After the first 13, 14 minutes, we seemed to play more of a style we're looking for," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "We had a lot of shots, opportunities, but didn't capitalize on them." Kennedy gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead just 4:40 into the game. Paul Martin fired a slap shot from the left circle that deflected off Kennedy's stick and went past goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Neal made it 2-0 less than three minutes later with another goal that came seconds after a face-off. Malkin dropped the puck back to Neal, who ripped a one-timer from outside the right circle into the far side. The Flyers cut it to 2-1 just 23 seconds into the second period when Giroux scored off a two-on-one break. Scott Hartnell set up Giroux's goal with a centering pass from the left wing. Giroux slipped the puck between Fleury's legs. "We moved the puck and executed our plays," Hartnell said. "We had a chance and didn't get it through." Giroux broke in all alone on Fleury midway through the third period, but the play was stopped before he took a shot because he was offside. "That's a tough call for a ref to make," Giroux said. "I didn't see the replay. It was borderline." Giroux was called for tripping with 62 seconds left to negate Philadelphia's power-play opportunity. Chris Kunitz then finished the scoring off with an empty-net goal. NOTES: Flyers forward Danny Briere was out of the lineup because of a wrist injury. ... First-round pick Scott Laughton made his NHL debut for Philadelphia playing on the third line. ... Giroux earned the "best in the world" moniker from Laviolette after posting six goals and eight assists in their playoff series vs. the Penguins. ... The Flyers jumped to a 3-0 series lead against Pittsburgh before holding on to beat them in six games last spring. They lost to New Jersey in five games in the following round. ... The Penguins led the NHL with 273 goals in the regular season last year. ... This was the seventh time these teams met in a season opener. ... Fleury's next shutout will give him a franchise-best 23 in his career. ... The Flyers have dominated the Penguins at home, going 90-30-10 entering this game. ... The teams combined for 56 goals in their six-game playoff series last spring.
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