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Flyers vs. Islanders preview: Third time’s the charm?

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Not that there’s anything charming about the Islanders, anyways.

Heather Barry ©

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Flyers take on the Islanders in some hot and heavy preseason action. It’s the third-straight for the clubs to open the exhibition season, with the teams splitting the first two.

This one will be in Brooklyn after the Flyers took Monday’s tilt by a final score of 3-1 at the Wells Fargo Center. Mikhail Vorobyev opened the scoring for the Flyers, notching the first of the preseason for the orange and the black and a potentially big tally as he attempts to break camp with the big club.

Shayne Gostisbehere followed with what else —a power play goal— to push the Flyers’ edge to 2-0 over a largely AHL-based Islanders squad. Ghost would add a second power play tally early in the second period as the Flyers’ power play looked like a well-oiled machine.

Last night also marked the first action for Carter Hart in goal for the Flyers this preseason. Hart came in about halfway through the second, as planned, for Michal Neuvirth, who surrendered a goal just prior to exiting thanks mostly to a murderous shift from Robert Hagg.

Prior to the contest last night, Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced that defenseman Travis Sanheim would miss just around a week with an upper-body injury he suffered in the Sunday matinee. That’s great news given the Flyers will already be starting the year without Andrew MacDonald, for what it’s worth. The Flyers also announced the first cuts of camp, with Matthew Strome, Wyatte Wylie, and Maksim Sushko headed back to juniors and Liam Hughes removed from his Amateur Try Out. Earlier today they made another round of cuts, sending Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe back to juniors as well.

Anyhow, it’s preseason and these teams literally cannot stop playing each other so let’s dig into the three things we’ll be watching for tonight.

1. The 3C competition continues, heats up

Mikhail Vorobyev was impressive on Monday night, scoring on a nice zone entry and subsequent give-and-go to open the scoring. He could draw in again tonight as the Flyers take a long look at him against NHL competition on a nightly basis. Jordan Weal was active last night while centering Claude Giroux, and is still very much in the mix along with Scott Laughton. Neither Laughton or Weal figure to make their case further tonight, though.

One player who could is German Rubstov, who figures to crack the lineup after sitting last night. Flyers coach Dave Hakstol has mentioned the former first-round pick a handful of times in camp and could further improve his stock with a strong showing tonight.

2. Continued PK success?

Look you can’t put too much emphasis on preseason results, but the Flyers penalty kill looked solid a night ago and for how bad they were a year ago any bit of success is progress. Vorobyev, in particular, was very strong and strong special teams play will only help his cause. A bunch of fringe AHLers could be in the lineup tonight, and with Dave Hakstol and his staff still looking for answers on the penalty kill, it could be a good opportunity for one of the guys likely to head to the Phantoms to show they could help.

3. Enough with the Islanders, right?

I don’t know about you but I’m sick of seeing these guys already, so let’s skate out of there without anymore injuries and get on with things.