The Tortorella era starts with a win as Flyers top Devils behind their youth


John Tortorella has been totally forthright about his expectations for Year 1 in Philadelphia.

He's not making any bold predictions.

"I have no idea what the hell is going to happen," the head coach said at morning skate. "I hope things happen the right way. If they don't, we just try to support one another through the bad things and try to get about our business going the right way."

The Flyers' business started on the right foot Thursday night. The club picked up a 5-2 win over the Devils in its 2022-23 regular-season opener at the Wells Fargo Center.

Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost delivered two-goal performances. Wade Allison also found the back of the net.

Frost's empty-netter sealed the game.

Kevin Hayes, Ivan Provorov and Tony DeAngelo finished with two assists apiece.

"I thought we played our ass off," Tortorella said.

"It's a find-a-way league. Nothing's perfect. Not all minutes are perfect. Sometimes it's ugly, sometimes it just looks awful. But it's a find-a-way league and we found a way to win."

The listed attendance at the Wells Fargo Center was 19,107.

"I hope they respect the fact that our guys played really hard tonight and gave it," Tortorella said. "I don't think people believe — not here — but I don't think general hockey people believe in us. Hopefully that will give us the juice to prove them wrong. I thought we took a step tonight."

The Flyers are 6-0-2 in their last eight season openers. They meet New Jersey three more times this season.

• General manager Chuck Fletcher highlighted the Flyers' youth and speed for why his team could be fun to watch.

The club has 12 players 25 years old or younger on its 23-man roster. It sees the youthfulness and Tortorella's direction being a good blend.

Management and the coaching staff had to like the start from its younger pieces. Allison turns 24 years old Friday, Konecny is 25 and Frost 23.

Tanner Laczynski, a 25-year-old fourth-line center, assisted Frost's second-period goal, which came just 23 seconds after Konecny gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead.

Konecny ballooned the Flyers' advantage to 4-1 with a third-period power play marker.

"I just loved our work ethic," Konecny said. "One of the cool things is our lineup has a lot of young guys in there. It really doesn't matter who you are, everyone was doing the right things and they weren't scared to make plays because they know everyone's backing them up and playing hard."

The Flyers would love to see Konecny lead the charge of their youth movement. He had one two-goal game last season. They're trying to figure out what kind of scorer he is moving forward.

Prior to the opener, Konecny sounded unbothered by the lack of outside buzz about the Flyers.

"We just stay internal," he said after morning skate. "I'm not worried about the people writing stuff online. Just worry about our stuff inside here and what we can control."

• Carter Hart did his job in net with 35 saves.

The Devils took a brief 1-0 lead on a first-period power play goal. Allison erased it 23 seconds later.

It's just one of 82 games, but the Flyers did look more together in their structure and support. The hard-nosed effort was definitely there.

"I think the biggest philosophy that we've talked about with our team is, we talk about being above the puck and being above the puck with our backchecking and tracking," Tortorella said in the morning. "Sometimes you can't be above the puck. Sometimes it's just good to be above your guy where he has to come through you. That's when it's hard to play. That's when defensemen, they shut down, they're not joining the rush because, 'S---, I've got another body I've got to go through.' ... I believe that will help us have the puck more and get going offensively."

They got better as the game got deeper, which is what Tortorella hopes for when he pushes conditioning during training camp.

New Jersey netminder Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 20 of the Flyers' 24 shots.

• Strong start for the Flyers' new top defensive pair of Provorov and DeAngelo.

They played only one preseason game together, but they seemed on the same page in Game 1.

"They played really well," Hart said. "I think they're going to be a good fit together down the stretch. They made a lot of great plays, blocked some shots and broke out the puck really well."

In another blue-line storyline, Travis Sanheim signed an eight-year, $50 million contract extension before the game.

"Sanny and I pretty much came up together right after the draft," Provorov said. "Playing against each other in juniors and then through camps, at the hotels and all that. Very happy for him. He's a big part of this team and we're happy to have him for another eight years."

• The Flyers' power play went 1 for 3 and the penalty kill 2 for 3.

• Owen Tippett was banged up in an open-ice collision during the final minute of the first period. The 23-year-old winger did not return to the game because of an upper-body injury.

• Cam Atkinson (upper body) and Rasmus Ristolainen (undisclosed) were unavailable. Both are day to day with their injuries. More on the Flyers' health front here.

• The Flyers host the Canucks on Saturday (4 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Mike Yeo, the former Flyers interim head coach, is an assistant coach with Vancouver. He was already in town Thursday night pre-scouting the Flyers.

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