It’s the final countdown! The final cut-down? It’s the final cut … ?
It’s the last game of preseason and the Flyers still have two cuts to make. They will square off against the New York Islanders for the fourth and final time this preseason, and hope to even things up, picking up their second win against them.
The Flyers are coming off two consecutive preseason wins, as the roster begins to fill in with veterans and future mainstays. We’ve seen them cleaning up their lines and pushing for a serious uptick in offensive production. With the regular season looming, we hope that they can hold onto this level of production and energy, moving forward.
The Flyers are set to make their last cuts sometime after tonight’s game, but, looking at the lineup, it seems like the decisions have already been more or less made. Here are a few things to look for, going into tonight.
1. Taylor Leier’s continuity
Something of a sleeper coming into training camp, it now seems like Leier has earned himself a spot on the roster. After an impressive preseason performance — in which he’s shown speed and instincts, scoring generation, and been rewarded with time on the special teams units — he finds himself off the scratch line and back on the fourth with Laughton and Raffl. Tonight will be a test both of chemistry with these two, who may remain his linemates, but also of sustainability, if he can keep up with the energy and dynamism he has brought to this point.
2. Power play units
The power play units have not been great, on the whole. Despite putting up pressure and generating shots, they've struggled to convert those into goals. But Thursday's game against the Bruins saw the second unit change that, putting up two goals on the night. But even with the second shining, the first unit still couldn't match that production.
Per Sam Carchidi, in yesterday's practice the Flyers changed up their structuring and moved Nolan Patrick up to PP1. Be looking for this come up in the game, to see if this allows for the jump start that PP1 needed, and how it may affect a PP2 group that was just starting to get settled.
3. Veteran defensemen
Given all of the attention and excitement given to the young prospects, attention has been largely turned away from the veterans. And with Morin and Sanheim scratched, it leaves us with mostly veterans to look at, with Manning on the third pairing with Gudas, and MacDonald back in his 2016-17 regular season position, on the first pairing with Provorov. These vets, namely Manning and MacDonald, have left much to be desired in their performances to date, and tonight offers the opportunity to show that they deserve the roles and ice time that they have been given. So hopefully they can do that.
The game will be broadcast on CSN Philly, and 97.5 The Fanatic.
You can check out the lineup — with lines and pairings from yesterday’s practice — below: