By Michael Grimm
Pittsburgh’s Conor Sheary scored the first-ever NHL goal in the month of July, but his Penguins lost 3-2 in overtime to the Flyers in exhibition play in the Toronto bubble.
Scott Laughton scored the overtime winner for the Flyers.
The game was the first of 12 exhibition contests that are part of the league’s restart in Toronto and Edmonton.
No fans will be in either building for all games.
“I thought the pace was pretty good for an exhibition game,” Flyers forward Sean Couturier said. “Obviously, maybe not as much emotion as there usually is between these two teams. But I’m sure once the playoffs get going it’ll ramp up pretty quick.”
During the anthem before the game, the teams stood together on the blue lines in a show of solidarity. The Penguins tweeted it was “to stand up against social justice, racism and hate.”
“We talked about it before the game, doing something to support equality, justice, racism, everything,” Couturier said.
“Just respect people, your opponent. We’re a pretty big rival but it still shows the way that we have respect for each other, and I think it should be the same in life in general.”
Couturier and Kevin Hayes scored for the Flyers.
Jason Zucker also scored for Pittsburgh.
The teams had some light-hearted commentary on social media during the game.
The Flyers tweeted “Per sources: For the first time in Flyers history, no one yelled “shoot” from the crowd during our power play.” Before the game, the Pens tweeted “It’s time for an exhibition post-season game in July.”
Penguins goalie Matt Murray allowed two goals on 12 shots before he was replaced by Tristan Jarry midway through the second period.
Flyers goalie Carter Hart stopped 11 of 12 shots in two periods before Brian Elliott came in to finish.
The Penguins will open their best-of-five qualifying round against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
The Flyers got the fourth and final bye through the qualifying round. They’ll open seeding play Sunday against the Boston Bruins.