Pictured: a high number of very good players.

With a fantastic night one in the books, it’s time to take a look back at the night that was, and celebrate the best plays from every game. (Man it’s nice to write about things that actually happened, not ones that might.)

Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers

The new-look Philadelphia Flyers took their team into Boston on a tough night, as apparently their opponents won the 2011-2012 Stanley Cup before the game, rendering the rest of the season useless.

Wait, they didn’t win the Cup? Then why did they pass it ar….. I’m confused. So Joe Corvo’s name isn’t on there?

Then the season matters again, hurray!

Anyway, moving on. The new-look Flyers actually have a goaltender now, and he provided us with what might very well have been the best play from last night. The Flyers never used to get this save, and could be dangerous now that they actually get to play with a guy in net:

Oh man that’s slick. Marchand got the better of Bryz earlier in the game though, making a nice move on a breakaway and scoring the first goal of the NHL season. Fun fact: he scored the last goal of last season too.

Sick stretch pass by Seguin.

And, it was a three highlight game. Just as Marchand scored while the Flyers big d-man and captain Chris Pronger was on the ice, Claude Giroux walked the Bruins version of him, Zdeno Chara, and did the same. He also undressed Tim Thomas:

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens

This game gave us our emotional highlight of the night: a short-handed, game-winning goal by Matthew Lombardi. That’s pretty awesome, given that the guy sat out a YEAR with a concussion. Great stuff.

Highlight number two from this game was cathartic to even watch.

How fun would it be to wear a Maple Leafs jersey, play at home on opening night against the Montreal Canadiens, step into a one-bomb from the slot, and blast it over the should of a Canadiens goalie, top corner? (Habs fans, you can just picture the reverse of that. Have to admit that’d feel pretty damn good, right?)

That shot’s a highlight of the night contender too. Nice stick on the forecheck by Lupul.

And, a shout-out to James Reimer – my old Reading Royals teammate for a brief time – on starting the season with a big ‘ol bagel.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

This game was a serious thrill ride last night. Alex Burrows played fantastic (Fleury owned him though), the Sedins (Daniel in particular) were terrific, and Ballard was a constant threat. Going the other way, Malkin and Letang look worthy of every word of praise we gave them in pre-season.

The highlights: I’ll open with a Fleury save, but that’s not even the best part of this highlight. Any of you who’ve played hockey will be able to relate to this — how freaking hard would it be, while moving, to make an accurate, hard, backhand pass all the way across the net as Daniel does here? Incredible pass.

The following sequence was the best minute or so of hockey last night, nicely punctuated by Daniel Sedin showing an insane level of patience where 99% of the league and 99.9999% of the hockey playing world gets this shot off as quick as humanly possible. Sssssnipe.

A solid way to end the day. What a backhand toe-pull by Burrows on Martin when the Canucks were breaking into the zone. And what a save fleury makes on Salo before Daniel gets his crack at him. That’s fun hockey right there.

Honorable mention: I loved Kris Letang’s shootout move. So many slight feints that I’m pretty sure Luongo felt like he was in turbulance on an airplane. Stomach-dropping stuff.