Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, middle, celebrates with Kris Letang, 58, and Sidney Crosby after scoring against the Arizona Coyotes in the second period Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Crosby, Malkin and Letang started their 17th season together. Keith Srakocic/Associated Press


PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang started their 17th season together with a bang, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins race by the Arizona Coyotes 6-2 on Thursday night.

The longtime franchise cornerstones combined for two goals and four assists as they joined former New York Yankee stars Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada as the longest-tenured trio of teammates in major North American professional sports history.

Crosby began his 18th season by scoring his 518th career goal 1:22 into the first period. The Pittsburgh captain also had two assists, including one on Malkin’s goal in the waning seconds of the second period that finished a sequence where the puck made its way from Letang to Crosby before eventually ending up on Malkin’s stick.

Jake Guentzel, Jason Zucker, Bryan Rust and Kasperi Kapanen also scored for Pittsburgh. Letang finished with two assists. Tristan Jarry, who was limited to just one appearance during the Penguins’ first-round playoff loss to the New York Rangers last spring, made 26 saves.

Nick Ritchie scored twice for the rebuilding Coyotes. Karel Vejmelka struggled early but improved as the game wore on to stop 47 shots.


FLYERS 5, DEVILS 2: Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost scored 23 seconds apart in the second period to help Philadelphia beat visiting New Jersey, making  Coach John Tortorella a winner in his Flyers’ debut.

Tortorella, who won a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004, was the big offseason splash for a team coming off a last-place finish in the Metropolitan Division.

Tortorella promised no quick fixes for a franchise that has bottomed out and a team widely projected as among the worst in the NHL this season.

SABRES 4, SENATORS 1: Rasmus Dahlin and rookie JJ Peterka scored 2:54 apart in the second period, and Buffalo rallied to beat visiting Ottawa in a mutual season opener.

Craig Anderson stopped 35 shots and Victor Olofsson sealed the victory by scoring two empty-net goals in the final 42 seconds.

The Sabres began carrying over the momentum from closing last season showing signs of jelling in winning 16 of their final 27 games. Though Buffalo set an NHL record for missing the playoffs for an 11th straight season, the fifth-place finish in the Atlantic Division was its best since placing third in 2011-12.


RANGERS 7, WILD 3: Artemi Panarin had a goal and three assists and Chris Kreider scored twice as visiting New York spoiled Minnesota’s  opener.

Kreider and Adam Fox had the first two goals as the Rangers took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission, and Filip Chytil scored in the second period to push the lead back to three.

Vincent Trocheck and Kaapo Kakko tacked on goals in the third period to neutralize the pair for the Wild by Matt Boldy in a whiplash stretch of 2:02 in which both teams scored twice.

PANTHERS 3, ISLANDERS 1:Patric Hornqvist scored the tie-breaking goal in the third period, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 31 shots and Florida beat host New York to give Paul Maurice a win in his first game as Panthers coach.

Eetu Luostarinen scored in the second period and Matthew Tkachuk added an empty-netter late in the third for Florida. The Panthers won their season opener a year after winning their first eight games and starting 10-0-1.

Noah Dobson scored for the Islanders and Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves.

MAPLE LEAFS 3, CAPITALS 2: Auston Matthews broke a third-period tie, Ilya Samsonov made 24 saves against his former teammates and Toronto won at home.

John Tavares and Calle Jarnkrok also scored and Morgan Rielly added two assists to help the Maple Leafs rebound from an opening 4-3 loss at Montreal on Wednesday night.

Nic Dowd and Marcus Johansson scored for Washington, coming off a 5-2 home loss to Boston on Wednesday night. Charlie Lindgren stopped 36 shots.

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