Woah woah, back to back days with hockey? And another game tomorrow? Oh it’s a beautiful sight!
What wasn’t so beautiful was the actual game yesterday. The Flyers returned in...more or less typical Flyers fashion, a 3-0 loss at the hands of the New York Islanders. The orange and black return home to the Wells Fargo Center to take on the Islanders yet again, in the second of three straight games to start the preseason vs the Isles. Not a whole lot has changed from yesterday, other than the Travis Sanheim injury which we should be getting an update on later today, so let’s get into some players and storylines to look for in tonight’s showdown.
1. The Pigeon Returns
He’s back! James van Riemsdyk makes his re-debut (yes we’re making up terms here) with the Flyers after not playing in yesterday’s game. Once the roster for tonight’s game was listed, it appeared as though we could see the first glimpse of the much anticipated JVR — Patrick — Voracek line. Well while we will see two thirds of that line, it looks like Nolan Patrick will sit out and Mikhail Vorobyev slots in as tonight’s second line center. JVR will see time with his projected fellow winger however, and it will be interesting to see how well the two mesh. And of course it will be very intriguing to see a young gun third line center hopeful in Vorobyev, play with two locks for the top six on this team.
Speaking of the young guns looking to make the roster, a good amount remain on the roster for tonight including some leftover from yesterday. Vorobyev and Nicolas Aube-Kubel will play, along with Tyrell Goulbourne, Isaac Ratcliffe, and Mike Vecchione who make their preseason debuts. As for the veteran forwards on the team, as previously mentioned Giroux will play, along with Voracek, Dale Weise, and Scott Laughton. On defense both Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere will make their preseason debuts, along with Robert Hagg.
2. Carter. Freakin’. Hart.
Alright, so he’s not going to play the full game, but Carter Hart will most likely make his preseason debut tonight. Assuming Dave Hakstol sticks to the plan from yesterday, Michal Neuvirth will play around half of the game, and Hart will see the other half. This will be the first time Flyers fans get a chance to see their star goalie prospect in the preseason. We saw flashes of brilliance in his outing in the rookie game against these same Islanders, so it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see him on his game tonight. In any case, all eyes will most definitely be on number 79 between the pipes once he enters the game.
Even though all eyes will be on Hart, it will be very interesting to see how Neuvirth looks and more importantly, if he can last a period without getting injured.
I’m sorry, I had to.
This is a big year for both Elliott and Neuvirth, as one would assume they’ll battle it out this year to see who mentors Hart in 2019-2020 if everything goes according to plans. The key for Neuvy at least at the moment though, is to just stay healthy.
3. It’s Misha Time
Mikhail “Misha” Vorobyev was one of the players I noticed the most in the rookie game, and for all the right reasons. He’s a big strong center who already showed last season in Lehigh Valley he has above average play-driving capabilities. He’s got a solid chance still of being the team’s third line center come opening night, and after playing the most minutes among forwards yesterday, I’d say those chances are on the upswing. Another solid showing tonight, and Vorobyev could be well on his way to cracking the lineup.
Final Notes/full roster list
Phil Myers will be another big name for fans to keep an eye on, as he makes his second straight start of the preseason. This time the towering right handed defense prospect will have Provorov alongside him. To say this is a pretty solid test for Myers would be an understatement.
Aube-Kubel will get first line time tonight alongside Giroux and Jordan Weal, serving as the team’s first line center. “NAK” is one of those players with a solid shot of making the team in somewhat of a Taylor Leier role, so a big game tonight with Giroux on the same line, should bode well for him cracking the NHL roster.
Below are the projected lines for tonight’s game:
Giroux - Weal - Aube-Kubel— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) September 17, 2018
van Riemsdyk - Vorobyev - Voracek
Laughton - Knight - Weise
Ratcliffe - Vecchione - Goulbourne
Hägg - Gostisbehere
Provorov - Myers
Zamula - Friedman
Looks like Neuvirth starting, Hart will come in later.