Mika Pyorala continued his bid to make the Flyers roster tonight by scoring a goal one minute and 45 seconds into overtime to give the Flyers a 2-1 edge over the New Jersey Devils. Will his performance tonight help his chances of making the team, though?
"That's something we're going to have to decide," Coach John Stevens said. "You want players to come in and make hard decisions. Obviously James [van Riemsdyk] has played extremely well and I think Mika has played extremely well also. To bring a guy over like that who is a little older, a little more experienced, and a little more mature certainly helps the depth of our team and the organization. ... He's a smart, well rounded player. He's got an ability to play the left or right side or both like he did tonight and it's nice to see him get rewarded with a goal"
A non-committal response, as always, from the coach. As for Pyorala himself, he's not thinking about it.
"It's going to be tough," Pyorala said. "I try not to think about that too much though. I just work hard and hope I'll make the team."
Matt Carle scored a goal on a first period power play tonight to give the Flyers an early 1-0 lead. The power play unit, anchored by the pairing of Chris Pronger and Carle, looked extremely impressive tonight. The puck movement was fantastic and the pressure on Martin Brodeur was exciting as well. Carle doesn't look to be a mainstay on the PP during the regular season, but tonight was a night for him to showcase his ability and he did just that, playing 27 (!) minutes tonight. He finished with a plus-1 rating.
The Devils would tie the score in the third period when Matt Halischuk banged home some trash in front of the net. Even with the goal against, though, Ray Emery was lights out in the third period for the Flyers. He made several dazzling saves to keep the Devils at bay following that goal, and it was his fault the game got to overtime at all. Despite what he called his best period of the preseason so far, Emery didn't sit back and dwell on the good play. Instead, he focused on losing the one goal lead.
"I felt pretty good, but I would've liked to keep the lead," Emery said following the game. Still, it was an impressive effort from Razor and he showed us our first glimpses of how much raw talent he really has. The coach was equally impressed.
"He's got a lot of fight in him and he certainly never quits on a puck," Stevens said. "It was indicative of his success tonight."
As for the other players fighting for spots on the Flyers roster, Blair Betts continued to impress the Flyers brass tonight. Stevens called him "a solid performer," mentioning that "he really competes hard" and that "you can never underappreciate" guys like Betts.
Dan Carcillo had a solid, penalty-free game. He did get in a fight in the first period with Mark Fraser -- and he absolutely decked him with one punch, by the way -- but he actually showed some offensive gusto tonight and played a smart, clean hockey game. That's called raising your stock.
As for Randy Jones, if the rumors are true that he could be out of here as early as this weekend, he didn't give the Flyers much reason to keep him around. In a situation like that, you have to stand out and prove that you deserve your job. All Jones did tonight was take a silly minor holding penalty, and he was on the ice for Halischuk's tally. If Danny Syvret and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen play Saturday against the Devils in Newark and turn in solid performances, that could be the writing on the wall for good ole' Randy.