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What we learned: Flyers vs. Bruins

Some observations for your morning...

Some things observed in a delightful Flyers victory over the Bruins ...

1. Look at all that offense!

In the games played so far this preseason, we’ve seen the Flyers putting up some serious offensive pressure but largely fail to capitalize, at least in a way that was proportionate to the effort put forward. The Flyers looked, on the whole, much like they have in the few games before this one, working well to dominate possession and creative pressure in the offensive zone. They put up 25 shots on goal over the course of the game, not making things easy for Boston.

But, for perhaps the first time, we saw these efforts actually translate into tangible results. Five goals, to be precise. And that’s pretty exciting, with the regular season less than a week away. Of course, one game does not make for a clear picture of future production, but, if nothing else, it’s encouraging to see their production at least starting to turn around, with them showing that they can still close.

2. The second power play unit does something

The power play units have been severely lacking in tangible production over the preseason. This much has been made abundantly clear. But one issue preceded this, stretching back to when the first power play unit was producing effectively last season. The first unit was good. The second … wasn’t. But last night gave a hint that this might be beginning to turn around.

Both units kept pressure up, but it was the second unit that was able to finally cash in, flashing some impressive puck movement throughout and ultimately putting two goals up on the board for the evening. If the second unit spent last season wheezing, last night showed that they’ve finally caught their breaths and gotten their bearings, with their new structure and personnel. The turn feels sharp, but in a way that feels pretty difficult to complain about.

3. Travis Konecny [still] on fire

So Konecny’s been good for the duration of training camp and the preseason games, but we’ve really seen him coming on in the last few games, and last night was a prime example of just what that means. He opened up scoring for the night, jump starting what would become a dynamic first period, while working to breathe some life into the second power play unit. He helped to close out scoring with a quick shot on goal in the third, feeding Couturier for an easy tip in. He flashed speed and got under his opponents’ skin. He played to his strengths and held onto some creativity to generate some heads up plays. And with questions about a sophomore slump looming, Konecny’s making a strong case to have all of those questions put to bed.

4. Behind the net play continues to spark production

This came up a bit in some observations from last week, as we saw the Flyers doing something new, trying something out that they haven't done too much of in the past. We saw them experimenting with moving the puck from behind the net and into the crease to generate some scoring chances up close. They continued on with this experiment, and last night it finally got some results, with the first goal of the night by Konecny coming as a direct result of Nolan Patrick dropping below the red line and making a play. And this bodes well for the looming regular season.

With this method, this area of scoring chance generation, starting to put up results, it stands to reason that it won't remain just some preseason trial that they abandon once it's over. The players have shown that they can make things happen from this area, that there's another — and dare I say more productive — model than just shooting from the point and hoping to beat the goalie or catch a rebound.

5. Sean Couturier back on it

Someone we haven't talked too much about to date — on his own, at least — is Couturier. Of course, there's been a lot of discussion about this new first line he's centering with Giroux on the wing, but we haven't looked too much at his individual production.

He's been just fine in the games preceding, but last night really saw him coming on. Clicking with Konecny, he set up the first goal of the game, and then was himself set up for the fifth and final of the night. He contributed to the offensive pressure brought by that first line with Giroux and Voracek. Of course, it would be unfair to expect him to put together a string of flashy performances like he put up last night, that’s just not his game. But it was sure nice to have our every once in awhile taste of it.

6. Are we ready to be nicer to Jake Voracek now?

This time last week, some of us had some really strong feelings about Voracek. Just to check in — how are we feeling now?

Because he looked pretty solid last night. Obviously, his goal itself was a nice one, just as nice as the fact that he’s back to scoring them. He looked even more comfortable on the first line with relatively new linemates Giroux and Couturier. After he and Giroux fell out of sync with each other last season, we’re also seeing the two of them starting to click again. And after a shaky past season, in many ways, we’re seeing him looking distinctly more confident and settled. It’s still too early to make any major predictions about what we’ll be seeing from him once the season starts, but as it inches closer, it’s encouraging to see him looking a bit more like the self we’re expecting to see.

7. Alex Lyon season preview

One of the assumptions about the goaltending situation at large, gearing up for the start of this season, was that Elliott and Neuvirth would remain in a tandem, with Elliott likely earning the 1A spot. This would leave Lyon as the starter in the Lehigh Valley, eventually earning a handful of starts with the Flyers to relieve Elliott, when Neuvirth inevitably gets hurt again. This was a nearly certain future, we’ve accepted it. But we got a look at it even sooner than we may have thought.

With Elliott away and Neuvirth sick, Lyon got the start in Philly last night, and he looked as good as ever. He faced 32 shots over the course of the game, and only allowed one goal. He held his own against even strength pressure, and against a Boston power play unit that ended last season first in the league. He put up a strong show, letting everyone watching know that he’s ready and able, whenever the team will call on him again.

8. Brandon Manning still holding on

With the influx of young talent vying for spots on the Flyers' blue line, we've seen the attention paid to veterans steadily declining. One of the names getting lost in the shuffle was Brandon Manning's. Suddenly, the discussion around him — if taking place at all — revolved around whether he stood a chance to remain on this team, or if he would find himself waived before the start of the regular season.

And if he's aware of these conversations, last night certainly showed him working to shift them. With a strong overall performance and a goal to cap it off, Manning seemed to push to regain his positive recognition, to work to remain in good graces with the organization. The question remains about where he will start the season, and in what role, but he's trying to assert his presence.

9. Welcome to Philly, Nolan Patrick!

As if his arrival as the second overall pick wasn't enough. As if the strong play in the preseason wasn't enough. As if the rosy cheeks weren't enough. Nolan Patrick, with his first NHL fight, has undoubtedly endeared himself to actual Flyers and Flyers fans alike.

With the Flyers holding a four-goal lead over the Bruins and not showing any signs of letting up, the intensity and the physicality of the game kicked up. Pair that with a few extra hits on a helmetless Jordan Weal, it was only a matter of time before the scrums came together. But while the exchanges broke up, Patrick took his further, dropping the gloves to have a go with Krejčí. And just like that, goals be damned, Patrick solidified his place in all of our hearts. Well done, buddy.

10. The only damn thing I know

So, where did Alex Lyon go to college again?

Oh right. Yale.

How could I forget? It’s not like the commentators mentioned it every other time they mentioned his name.

Like, we get it. Yale. That’s a big deal. Pretty fancy.

I wonder if Lyon told them to keep bringing it up. Just to emphasize “hey. I’m pretty good at hockey and probably smarter than all of you losers.”

He would be wrong though.

No one is smarter than me.

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