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Travis Konecny scores twice as Flyers top Jackets in opener

Travis Konecny scored twice and Carter Hart made 31 saves to lift the visiting Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday in the season opener for both teams.

Konecny scored in the first period and added an empty-net goal just before time expired in the third.

Joel Farabee tallied in the first period and former Blue Jacket Cam Atkinson beat former Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov to a loose puck before scoring into the empty net in the third. Atkinson returned after missing all of last season due to neck surgery.

The Flyers improved to 7-0-2 in their past nine season-opening games.

Philadelphia’s Scott Laughton notched two assists and Sean Couturier added one in his return from a lengthy absence while recovering from back surgery. Couturier last played in an NHL game on Dec. 18, 2021.

Columbus defenseman Jake Bean scored a goal in the first period, and Patrik Laine converted with 43.3 seconds remaining in the third.

Kirill Marchenko had two assists for the Blue Jackets, and rookie Adam Fantilli added one in his NHL debut. Fantilli, who celebrated his 19th birthday on Thursday, was selected with the third overall pick of the 2023 draft.

Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins turned aside 33 shots. Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski left the ice with assistance in the second period after sustaining a quad contusion following a hit by Garnet Hathaway.

Werenski, who did not return, was playing in his first game since sustaining a shoulder injury against the Flyers on Nov. 10, 2022. Hathaway was whistled for a two-minute kneeing penalty.

Philadelphia bolted out of the blocks as defenseman Egor Zamula forced a turnover that set up a two-on-none rush. Farabee and Couturier exchanged passes before the former converted to open the scoring at 3:33 of the first period.

Columbus forged a tie nearly five minutes later after Fantilli’s shot from the left-wing boards provided a juicy rebound for Bean, who made no mistake from in close.

Laughton recorded his 200th career point to help Philadelphia claim a 2-1 lead with 7:17 remaining in the first period. Laughton skated into the offensive zone before pushing the puck ahead to Konecny, who unleashed a shot from the left circle that sailed just inside the far post.

–Field Level Media

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