Red Wings beat Flyers 3-1 in pre-season opener

DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers were rusty in the pre-season opener for both teams. The Red Wings fans, though, seem to be in mid-season form.

Kris Draper, Jamie Tardif and Jeremy Williams scored to lift Detroit to a 3-1 win Wednesday night.

Veteran defenceman Chris Pronger made his Flyers’ debut, after being acquired in a trade with Anaheim during the off-season, and was booed every time he touched the puck by the fans. They are familiar with him from his time with the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers and Ducks.

“It was nice to hear the fans appreciate me again,” Pronger said.

He added that he felt comfortable with his new team.

Red Wings’ starting goalie Jimmy Howard made six saves in a little over 30 minutes and Daniel Larsson stopped 14 shots.

James Van Riemsdyk, the second overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, scored for Philadelphia in his first pro game and Flyers’ goalie Ray Emery made 23 saves in two periods. Brian Boucher stopped nine shots.

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Van Riemsdyk opened the scoring 3:26 into the second period when he beat Howard with a wrist shot from the left circle.

“It was good for him, he had some success,” said Flyers’ coach John Stevens about the 20-year-old left wing, who is making a bid to go straight from the University of New Hampshire to the NHL.

Draper tied it at 1, 9:36 into the middle period when he put a rebound past Emery.

Tardif gave the Red Wings the lead with 1:52 left in the second period when he put in a one-time shot from the slot.

Williams scored 3:35 into the third when he flipped in a loose puck from a goal-mouth scramble.

The Red Wings’ roster is mostly set for the season but Detroit coach Mike Babcock said pre-season games are an opportunity to get an idea of the future.

“You’re trying to see who’s on their way to being a contributor,” he said. “… and maybe who’s going to be the first call-up (during the regular season).”