For the fifth in the preseason, the Flyers worked overtime. This time, the team avenged a 3-2 overtime loss at Madison Square Garden the previous night with a 4-3 overtime win at the Wells Fargo Center to split a home-and-home set with the New York Rangers. Overall, the Flyers improved to 2-1-3 on the preseason with two games remaining. Here are five developments of note in Tuesday's game.
1. KIDS WERE MORE THAN ALL RIGHT
The young players in camp - both forwards and defensemen - continued on Tuesday to put pressure on the veterans for roster spots and/or ice time. Every player among second-year NHLer Travis Konecny, linemates Oskar Lindblom and Mikhail Vorobyev (recalled from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms camp earlier in the day), Nolan Patrick, Jordan Weal, checking liners Taylor Leier and Scott Laughton and young defensemen Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim and Robert Hagg had their moments to shine at some point during the game.
Morin joined the attack as a trailer to take a feed from Claude Giroux and wrist home his first goal of the preseason. Laughton scored on a give-and-go play with veteran linemate Michael Raffl. Lindblom scored a deflection goal (something he did frequently in Sweden) and protected the puck well. Konecny wreaked havoc in the Rangers' zone all game and his fourth shot (ninth shot attempt of the game) proved to be to OT winner. On the play, Konecny followed up his own rebound after a pass from Giroux and, on a delayed Rangers penalty, scored from a flat angle against Ondrej Pavelec (34 saves on 38 shots).
"It felt good especially today. My head was more or less in the battles in front of the net and stuff. So it was good to get that outta the way and you know I played well today with the guys that I played with. They brought a lot of skill, so it's easy playing with guys like that," Konency said.Video: Hear from Konecny following 4-3 OT victory
2. ALMOST A GORDIE
One night after Sanheim was arguably the best player on the ice for either team in Monday's game at Madison Square Garden, Sam Morin stepped up with a strong game. His late first period goal, naturally, drew the most postgame attention.
"When you play with such good players like G, Coots and all of those guys, you need to skate a little bit and they give you a pass and a scoring chance. It's different from the AHL, the AHL is more of a grinding league, the puck will go way more deep. Guys like G, Jake and Coots, they're going to keep the puck and see us, the second wave. I try and put my stick on the ice and shoot the puck, it's pretty easy," Morin said.
In addition to his late first-period goal, Morin had four credited hits (one of which was a crunching clean check on Gabriel Fontaine at center ice) and a lopsided fight victory over veteran agitator Bobby Farnham. The latter came about directly after the Fontaine hit, as Farnham made a beeline for the much larger Morin. For his troubles, Farnham got manhandled in the ensuing fight and received an instigation minor that put the Flyers on the power play.
By the end of the first period, Morin had two-thirds of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Hear more from Morin below...Video: Hear from Morin as he fights for a spot
3. DEPTH POTENTIAL IS CLEAR
The experiment of having Giroux (four shots on goal, two assists) play left wing on an even strength line with Sean Couturier (Two shots, including a shorthanded breakaway attempt) and Jakub Voracek (one assist, one shot) continued on Tuesday. While the line had some shifts where it asserted itself, the bigger trend of note in both Monday and Tuesday's games was the ever-increasing depth of the Flyers roster with the influx of young players.
For example, the trio of Vorobyev, Konecny and Lindblom hardly saw the ice together in the first period. Vorobyev played only 2:13 over 4 shifts in the first period (10:05 overall). Starting in the second period, however, the trio showed instant chemistry. They dominated on the forecheck, got pucks to the net and also backchecked efficiently when needed to do so.
"I thought [Vorobyev] played a heck of a hockey game," Hakstol said. "I thought every situation that we put him into tonight, I thought he went out and did a good job. He went out and made a couple of high end plays offensively, and then up and down the rink I think he was good, he was reliable right from the faceoff dot out."
The trio of Leier, frequent Phantoms linemate Laughton and Raffl also had an effective game in using their speed and tenacity in both defensive and offensive situations. Patrick and Jordan Weal worked a few nicely conceived plays together, and Patrick's work on the boards on a crossover shift helped contribute to Lindblom's eventual deflection goal on a point shot by Andrew MacDonald.
4. ELLIOTT'S TURN TO BE SHARP
It was the first time he's played 60-plus minutes in the preseason, but newcomer Brian Elliott authored several 10-bell saves, including a pair of crucial stops on New York shorthanded bids and stopped 25 of 28 shots overall.
Two of the goals he allowed were on breakdowns around him as Paul Carey opened the scoring in the first period and Michael Grabner tied the game at 3-3 in the latter stages of the third period on shots from high-percentage areas. David Desharnais gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the first period on a seeing eye shot from the deep slot; normally an area where a goalie is expected to make a save if he has a clear view and angle but this shot appeared to change direction (perhaps off Raffl's attempted shot block).
5. STILL WORKING ON SPECIAL TEAMS
The Flyers' second power play unit was arguably better than the first unit on some of the team's five opportunities on the man advantage. However, the first unit finally generated a few chances as the game moved along. The bottom line was an 0-for-5 night but there were further baby steps taken forward after the last two games.
"We need to taste a little success in terms of finishing the plays, but first period tonight we walk away from it, you take a look at it and there's two Grade A chances, one off the post. There's a lot of good there. We have to get more complete," Hakstol said.
On the penalty kill, the Flyers went 2-for-3. Elliott made a couple high-end saves. The team in front killed off their final disadvantage rather emphatically. There was also an earlier shorthanded breakaway chance by Couturier at the end of a shift.Video: Hear from Hakstol after 4-3 OT win