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Global Series

Global Series blog: James van Riemsdyk

Flyers forward impressed by game atmosphere, fan excitement in Prague

by James van Riemsdyk / Special to NHL.com

The Philadelphia Flyers opened their regular season with a 4-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2019 NHL Global Series at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, on Friday.

Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk detailed his experiences on the trip in his own NHL.com blog. Here is van Riemsdyk's fourth and final entry:

Today felt a little bit different. Usually when you have the early practice you're getting back in your bed for your home nap and that sort of stuff, so that was a little bit different, and the later start to the game. But it was exciting to know that the season was opening.

The morning skate was quick, on the ice and off the ice quick. I think coach Alain Vigneault generally likes to have those be optional, but since we had such a late game we went on the ice. But it was good, we snapped the puck around a little bit and got ready to go for tonight.

After the skate we just went back to the hotel, had a nice meal, took a nap for an hour and a half and then with the later games it always feels like it's forever in the afternoon that you're waiting.

Riding over to the arena, it was exciting, more cameras than we're used to walking into the building. But it was definitely fun.

You're always excited for that season opener. I think the excitement, that just kind of trumps everything else. It's that moment you're waiting for all summer and the atmosphere was pretty cool.

I'm used to playing in some pretty cool atmospheres over the course of my career, but it's definitely special when it's something like this, a neutral-site game and people are just excited in general for hockey. People were here a little bit earlier it seemed like then just an average game and that made it fun to see how excited they were for the game.

We got a nice lead but when Patrick Kane scored to make it 4-3, the mood on the bench was about just sticking with it. Everything is so tight in our league so it's always going to come down to the end of the games like that and you have to find a way to close it out, so it was good that we were able to do that. Obviously got a little tense there at the end when they get that late one, but I think we continued to battle hard and made some good plays to win the game.

The feeling when the final horn went off was great. You always remember these experiences way better when you get the win. And with all the changes we made you want to kind of get off to a good start so you don't feel like you're chasing it all season long.

Now it's nice, we have a long break before we play again so it's nice that we don't have to stew on a loss and kind of have those sleepless nights getting ready for the next one on Wednesday. We know we have some work to do but we still have some points banked right now.

We'll have a team dinner tonight and then we'll see what happens. We have a long flight home but the guys have enjoyed spending time together in a setting like this.

This was such a fun trip. Everyone was concerned about getting the win. Doesn't have to necessarily be the prettiest thing, but as long as you get the two points, I think it starts us off in a good direction.

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