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Flyers face Islanders, Devils in split-squad games

News, notes and quotes as the Flyers go on the road for split squad contests

by @NHLFlyers /

* The Flyers face off in their first two preseason games tonight when they will split their squads for a pair of road games at 7 p.m. The Flyers will take on the New Jersey Devils in Newark and the New York Islanders in Brooklyn. Its the first time they have had a split squad with both games designated as road games.

Last season the Flyers also had a split squad against the Islanders - they split a pair of victories, losing in Brooklyn and winning on home ice.

In fact, the Flyers have split victories when they have divided the teams in each of the last three preseasons.

* Michael Del Zotto is in the lineup for the game in Brooklyn, this will be his first NHL game since Feb. 13 after his season ending surgery in late February.

Added Del Zotto: "I'm pretty excited it's been seven long months. It's the longest time off of hockey I've had in my career so I'm itching to get back at it. Even though it's still preseason, it's still full contact, it's still a real game and I'm just excited to get out there with my teammates again."

For many of the Flyers it will be their first ever NHL preseason game, including 2016 Draft pick Connor Bunnaman.

Said Bunnaman: "I'm pretty excited and I'm pretty nervous. I don't know what to expect other than I know is that it's going to be fast, hard and it's going to be a tough game but I'm ready and I'm excited."

Although preseason is a time where a lot of prospects and rookies see game action and it's not a full NHL roster, the games are no less intense because on both sides of the ice, players are fighting for jobs and looking to make an impression.

Scott Laughton, who has played a number of preseason games in his early career, knows how intense the pace of play can be out there.

"It doesn't really matter if it's a split squad game or not we have to go in with the right mindset. We need to go in, get a win and keep things simple and communicate with all different guys," said Laughton. "I think everyone will be running around in the first 10 minutes and then it will slow down a little bit."
* The Flyers have dropped five of the last six preseason games against the Devils and are 10-12-2 in the last 11 preseasons versus New Jersey.

* This is the second straight year the Flyers have taken on the Islanders in the preseason. Previously they had not played the Islanders since the 2010 preseason.

* For one Flyers player, tonight will have a little more special meaning. TJ Brennan, who grew up in the Philadelphia area and played his youth hockey as a Little Flyer, will put on that game uniform for the first time.

"I just try and take it day-by-day," said Brennan. "Obviously there's a lot of excitement for myself putting that Flyers uniform on but it's just another game, another chance to get better and play some hockey. It's a really exciting time of year because it's the start of hockey season and we get to put everything together into game form and show them what you got."

* This is the first two of four games in a three night span as the Flyers host the Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday, before heading up to Lehigh Valley to face the Devils on Wednesday at the PPL Center.



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