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Flyers vs. Rangers preview: Finally, someone besides the Islanders

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Still a New York team though.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After a dominating 5-1 victory over the Islanders last night, the Flyers take on the New York Rangers tonight for their fourth game in as many days. This is the first game of the preseason against a team other than the Islanders, so it should be nice to see how well the Flyers matchup against another divisional foe. The Rangers are in the middle of a rebuild, trading away Ryan McDonagh last season along with sending a letter to fans quite literally saying they are rebuilding.

Below is the Rangers’ projected roster for tonight’s game:

The Rangers are coming off of a 4-3 overtime win vs. the New Jersey Devils in their first preseason game, and as the Flyers did for their preseason home opener, feature a bit of a veteran heavy lineup. Henrik Lundqvist will most likely start in net, followed by former Lehigh Valley Phantom, Dustin Tokarski.

Now let’s talk about our back-to-back winners, and what to look for in tonight’s contest:

1. Misha’s back, back again

One of the most noteworthy players through the first three preseason games, has definitely been third line center hopeful Mikhail Vorobyev. Vorobyev has been excellent so far this preseason, posting a 56.41 raw CF% in two games, as well as posting a fine goal in the preseason home opener.

Vorobyev is making it almost impossible for the Flyers to send him down with the way he’s played. He’s been the defensive stalwart center that they expected, but he’s also shown flashes of brilliance on offense. According to Bill Meltzer’s predictions for the lines tonight, Vorobyev could see first line time centering Claude Giroux. If that happens, a strong showing by Vorobyev could solidify his spot on the opening night roster.

2. Phil Myers returns to the lineup

After sitting out last night’s game, Phillippe Myers is back in the lineup for the Flyers as he tries to earn a roster spot. Myers posted a 74.07 CF% on Monday night, and will look to post similar results tonight. While he’s shown flashes of the monster of a defenseman that he can potentially be, he’s also shown to be inconsistent at times. Just as Vorobyev, a strong showing tonight could make things interesting for general manager Ron Hextall. According to Meltzer’s and Dave Isaac of the Courier Post’s lineup predictions, he would be paired alongside second year defenseman; Robert Hagg.

Myers being given first pairing minutes over a lock for the roster in Radko Gudas, should be a telltale sign that the Flyers want to be sure of what they have in him heading into the season. Also, given the struggles of Hagg so far this preseason, it should give a good test for Myers as to how well he can carry a pairing.

3. Hart (should) get his second appearance

After posting a half-shutout Monday night, Carter Hart looks to play in his second game of the preseason in relief of Brian Elliott this evening. Hart looked solid on Monday albeit some shaky rebound control at times, along with not a lot of pucks coming his way. He’s obviously a tremendous long shot to make the team, but who doesn’t want to see this kid make it difficult on Hextall? I’d assume the plan remains for Elliott to go about halfway and Hart to finish the game off, so hopefully we can see the 20-year old tested just a bit more.

Full roster/final notes:

  • Scott Laughton appears to be remaining at wing tonight, which only seems to be driving home the point the Flyers want to keep him there. With Vorobyev and Jordan Weal looking strong so far, Laughton beginning season on the wing looks all the more llikely.
  • Nicolas Aube-Kubel makes his third start of the preseason, and is projected to be on a line with Weal and Carsen Twarnyski, who pulled off a beautiful goal last night vs. the Islanders. “NAK” has been impressive so far this preseason, and is still very much in the running to make the opening night roster.
  • Brian Elliott makes his first appearance of the preseason and will make his first start since April 18, game four of the Flyers first round series vs. Pittsburgh. Elliott’s season was plagued by injuries last year, so let’s hope his 2018-19 campaign gets off on the strong foot tonight.