The Flyers are right back at it with the back end of a preseason home-and-home series with the Rangers tonight from the Wells Fargo Center at 7pm. Tonight’s game will air nationally on NHL Network, locally on TCN, and on radio at 97.5 The Fanatic.
Last night the two teams met up at Madison Square Garden for a tilt that saw rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim score twice for the Flyers but, in the end it was veteran Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh who scored the game-winner in overtime as the Rangers took the front end of the back-to-back by a 3-2 final.
While there were plenty of positives to take away for the Flyers - including another strong night in the face off circle (winning 33 of 53) and 39 shots generated on Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist - the power play again went 0-for-5 on the night. While an 0-for-14 skid on the power play dating back to the Boston game isn’t promising, it’s important to remember there are still a lot of moving pieces and players in the preseason, so bad numbers in the exhibition season aren’t the end of the world. Not yet, at least.
As for the Claude-Giroux-to-left-wing experiment, the Flyers’ captain sure didn’t look out of place on the wing for the first time in his career. The line of Giroux, Sean Couturier in the middle, and Jake Voracek on the left generated a couple good chances on the night, but also failed to score on a two-on-one and a two-on-none with Giroux and Voracek both passing up shots for…you guessed it, more passes.
Michal Neuvirth was strong in goal for the Flyers, stopping 28 of 31 shots, though he’d like to have the game-winning goal back due to the juicy rebound he left that ultimately led to McDonagh’s goal.
Looking ahead to to tonight, look for Brian Elliott to get the start in goal and play the entire game. With the Flyers sending back Alex Lyon to Lehigh Valley, the only two goalies left in camp are Neuvirth and Elliott, who will begin the season as a tandem between the pipes.
With just three preseason games left it’s crunch time for players on the bubble. Those would seem to include forwards Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, and Mike Vecchione and defensemen Sam Morin, Robert Hagg, and Travis Sanheim. Sanheim has scored three goals in his past two games and is having a strong finish to the preseason to help bolster his case.
Here is tonight’s roster straight from the Flyers:
22 Dale Weise
40 Jordan Weal
46 Mikhail Vorobyev
58 Taylor Leier
48 Robert Hagg
50 Sam Morin
37 Brian Elliott (starter)