Flyers outlast Penguins for OT win in silent NHL exhibition opener

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 Philadelphia Flyers in exhibition play on Tuesday at Scotiabank Arena.

Scott Laughton, a native of nearby Oakville, Ont., scored the overtime winner for the Flyers.

The game between Pennsylvania’s two NHL teams 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.

WATCH | NHL players, staff descend upon hub city locations:

The excitement is growing for the return of the NHL season, especially in the two hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton where players and staff have started arriving under strict measures to avoid bursting the NHL’s bubble. 2:05

“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.”

Show of solidarity during anthem

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.