The welts on his face said otherwise. Mr. Lindros means business.
Playing the dual roles of scorer and enforcer, Lindros scored his first two goals of the season as the Flyers won their home opener with a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Sunday night.
"He was on again," said linemate John LeClair, who scored his first goal. "He's been dominant ever since we showed up for the season. He can control a game like that."
Lindros, starting his seventh season in perhaps the best shape of his career, flicked a loose puck past Guy Hebert early in the first period. He scored the Flyers' final goal with a slap shot from the right circle 50 seconds into the third.
Most, noticeably, though, Lindros took it upon himself to correct a worrisome habit from last season. No longer do the Flyers stand around while the rough stuff is going on.
Lindros made sure of that. He was right in the middle of a netside skirmish after Rod Brind'Amour scored to make it 3-1 in the second, and received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for drilling Stu Grimson late in the third.
The hit appeared to come as retaliation for Ed Drury's hard check on Eric Dejardins. But Lindros said Grimson hit him first.
In any event, Luke Richardson stepped in and fought Grimson as the Flyers flashed some of those "Broad Street Bullies" tactics that were missing at times last season.
New Flyers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck calls it "hanging your sweaters together." Whatever it's called, Lindros sure seemed to enjoy it.
"Well, good teams do that," said Lindros, sporting a welt on the bridge of his nose and over his eyes. "Guys are feeling good about themselves. Once you get in those piles, it's hard to tell who's in there. You guys should cover WWF or something."
LeClair, seeking his fourth straight 50-goal season, scored with 6½ minutes left in the first period as the first line of Lindros, LeClair and rookie Mike Maneluk accounted for seven of the Flyers' 11 points.
Vanbiesbrouck had a quiet home debut, stopping 21 of 22 shots. The sellout crowd at the First Union Center cheered loudly for the "Beezer" when he stopped Paul Kariya cold on a great chance in the first minute of the game.
"When everything clicks and you get four goals," Vanbiesbrouck said, "there isn't much to talk about."
Kariya scored his first goal halfway through the first, assisted by Fredrik Olausson and Teemu Selanne.
The Flyers, coming off a 1-0 shutout against the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden, need a big year from Lindros if they are to return to the Stanley Cup finals following last year's first-round playoff exit.
BoClarke, the former Flyers captain and now the general manager, said this summer that Lindros must play like the best player in hockey if he wants to be paid that way.
Apparently, he does.
"He was at his best tonight," Anaheim coach Craig Hartsburg said. "He's a dominant player. ... I don't know whether he's on a mission or not, but he sure was good tonight."
Brind'Amour had the prettiest goal of the night, skating a full, wide circle around the net and flicking a wrist shot past Hebert.
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