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Final score: Penguins 3, Flyers 1.
Why it matters: The long-awaited start of the Penguins' season was an unqualified success, as they knocked off the bitter rival that ran them out of the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring.
In a nutshell: Sidney Crosby was far less of a factor than he usually is at the Wells Fargo Center, but goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 of 27 shots and the Penguins' penalty-killers, who were victimized so often by the Flyers last spring, killed all five Philadelphia power plays. Tyler Kennedy staked the Penguins to a 1-0 lead with a goal at 4:40 of the first period, and James Neal got what turned out to be the game-winner at 7:20.
Turning point: With about five minutes left in regulation and the Flyers on a power play, Penguins forward Craig Adams stopped a short-range shot that had eluded Fleury, thus preserving a 2-1 Penguins lead.
Under the radar: Defenseman Paul Martin has a solid start to his season – he actually leads the Penguins in scoring with two points – but Adams seemed to be making a heady play every time he went over the boards. Despite logging just 12:53 of ice time, 4:03 of which came while the Penguins were shorthanded, Adams did the kind of responsible defensive work that made it possible for the Penguins to protect a one-goal lead until Chris Kunitz could seal the victory with an empty-net goal with 11.2 seconds left in the third period.
The brightest star: Although Neal had an excellent game and Claude Giroux was strong for the Flyers, Fleury made the difference in this one, as he set the franchise record with his 227th career victory and came within one goal-against of earning his 23rd shutout, which also would have been a team record.
The last word: Adams, on how this victory could not negate the sting of losing to the Flyers in Round 1 last April: "Last spring is last spring. I think I'll always look back on it as a wasted opportunity. We had a great team – not that they didn't – and envisioned ourselves going farther, and who knows what could have happened? But we can't do anything about that now."
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