Flyers Win Opener Sans Lindros

Flyers' Daymond Langkow swats at the puck after Canucks goalie Felix Potvin made a save. AP

The Philadelphia Flyers are doing just fine without Eric Lindros - for one game at least.

Eric Desjardins scored two goals, including the game-winner, and rookie Justin Williams added a goal and two assists as the Flyers began the post-Lindros Era with a 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.

"Eric had been in and out of the lineup before. It's nothing new," said John LeClair, Lindros' linemate since joining the Flyers in 1995.

It was the first time in nine seasons the Flyers played a home opener without Lindros.

After a long and bitter feud, Lindros rejected the team's $8.5 million qualifying offer in the offseason, and is a restricted free agent. He's recovering at home in Canada from his sixth concussion.

LeClair said he didn't think about Lindros at any time while on the ice.

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Game summary

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  • "How could you?" he said.

    Desjardins, a defenseman who replaced Lindros as the team captain last March, made it 4-3 with a power-play goal with 1.3 seconds left in the second period.

    Williams, playing his first NHL game, sent a pass from behind the net to Mark Recchi at the point. Recchi crossed it to Desjardins, who lifted a shot past Felix Potvin for the decisive goal.

    Desjardins added another power-play goal that made it 5-3 with 3:13 left.

    "It's certainly not the kind of hockey we want to play all season," Desjardins said about the wide-open style. "The new rules change the game a little bit. You can't hold like you used to, so it's going to be a little open."

    Williams, who turned 9 on Wednesday, gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead on his first shot just 3:14 in.

    The speedy right wing was expected to start the season in juniors after the Flyers selected him in the first round of the June draft. Instead, he earned a spot on the top line with LeClair and Keith Primeau after an impressive training camp.

    "I feel I'm under the eye, always being watched and evaluated," Williams said. "I have to keep improving."

    Vancouver scored a pair of short-handed goals in less than three minutes to take a 2-1 lead in the first.

    Matt Cooke stripped Desjardins, and beat Brian Boucher with a wrist shot to tie it at 1 midway through the period. Peter Schaefer scored just 2:48 later by completing a 2-on-1 break.

    "We have to get better in a lot of areas," Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said. "We have to have a little bit more discipline in our game."

    Philadelphia tied it at 2 on a goal by Petr Hubacek, another rookie playing his first game. Hubacek one-timed a behind-the-net pass from Rick Tocchet 3:18 into the second.

    "They have good support, they were quick and they did things that we hoped they would do," Flyers coach Craig Ramsay said of his rookies.

    LeClair gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead by backhanding a rebound off a shot from Recchi 5:01 into the second.

    Boucher stopped 26 shots to record the victory. Potvin made 27 saves.

    Philadelphia got within one game of reaching the Stanley Cup finals last season even though Lindros missed the last 14 games of the regular season and all but the final two games of the playoffs.

    "Eric is a great player and they probably miss him a lot," Schaefer said. "But they are still a very deep team without him and they showed it tonight."

    Notes

  • Vancouver's Markus Naslund tied it at 3 on a breakaway goal with 5:50 left in the second.
  • Daymond Langkow scored an empty-net goal with 14.1 seconds left.
  • Hubacek, selected in the ninth round of the 1998 draft (243rd overall), is the lowest Flyers draft pick to play for the team.
  • Vancouver's Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, made their NHL debut, and became the fourth set of twins to play in the league. The last were Rich and Ron Sutter, who debuted with the Flyers in 1983.
  • Philadelphia defenseman Dan McGillis played in his 300th NHL game.
  • LeClair had one goal and one assist, and has 499 points with th Flyers.


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