After a brief hiatus, the Flyers return to preseason play tonight to take on the Boston Bruins. This will be the first Flyers preseason game of the year vs. a non-Metropolitan Division team, and is the first of two meetings this preseason vs. Boston. There’s only three games left before the regular season begins, and the Flyers just about have their roster set after major cuts on Thursday and some more on Saturday. The orange and black head into tonight’s matchup with a 3-1-1 record in the preseason.
The Bruins enter tonight’s game without a loss in regulation this preseason, their only loss coming in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Boston is coming off of a season in which they were ousted in the second round by the Tampa Bay Lightning in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins are a team lead by aging yet still productive veterans, but have many exciting young players flying up the ranks such as Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk, and the “Pasta man”, David Pastrnak.
1. The debut of the JVR — Patrick — Voracek line
We got a small glimpse of it in the last game vs. the Islanders, but tonight we’ll see one of the more anticipated lines play in full. James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek centered by Nolan Patrick. In their brief time together on Friday night, they looked as advertised. Voracek and JVR were dominant along the wall, and Patrick opened up the ice for his explosive wingers. This line is one that will not give defenses a chance to rest after dealing with the Claude Giroux — Sean Couturier — Travis Konecny line. They perform so well at keeping the puck alive, and wearing down defenses, that the goals should pile up by season’s end.
I’d expect this line to be a heavy cycle focused unit for the Flyers tonight with how well JVR and Voracek protect the puck with their large frames. Cycles between the two that end with a pass to Patrick in the slot, or a give-and-go shot attempt is what I’d like to see tonight from the line. It would be nice to see them tally at least a goal tonight, but overall I’m more so looking to see how they drive play, and how they mesh as a line.
2. Misha continues to get good looks
With Sean Couturier still on the mend, Mikhail Vorobyev will get an excellent opportunity yet again as the team’s first line center tonight. He’s been easily one of — if not the most — impressive forward this preseason. With how similar his and Couturier’s play styles are, he should be the perfect fit to center Giroux and Konecny. It’s almost certain that Vorobyev will make this team, but a strong performance tonight on the top line will practically seal the deal for the young center. He’s lead the way in time-on-ice among forwards multiple times this preseason, and has posted strong results in return. If he doesn’t make this team, it would take a monumental collapse or injury (god forbid) over the next three games.
3. Does Corban Knight actually have a chance to make this team?
Okay this is half-joking admittedly, but...maybe? Corban Knight has had a solid preseason, scoring in the last game on Friday, but he’s not really been a name discussed all that much in regards to making the team. While I still find it hard to believe that Knight will make this team, the same concept applies to him as it does Vorobyev in a way. A strong showing could give him that extra push he needs to make this team. Now whether he should make this team is a whole other topic, but the Flyers have kept him around this long for a reason. I think the only way however that he does make this team, as previously mentioned, is if Vorobyev falls of the face of the earth in the final three games or gets hurt.
What Knight does have going for him is his position and experience. The chances of Knight making the team as a thirteenth or fourteenth forward are much higher than that of a guy like Nicolas Aube-Kubel.
Final notes/full lineup
- The third defense pair tonight is Andrew MacDonald with Christian Folin...oh boy.
- Robert Hagg and Philippe Myers returns as a defense pair, hopefully with much better results than they’ve posted in previous outings. Myers will be the one to watch in that pairing as he attempts to make the final roster, but with how Hagg has played this preseason (not well), eyes should be focused on him as well.
- Anthony Stolarz backs up Brian Elliott tonight as he might when the regular season begins. since Michal Neuvirth could miss time with the injury he sustained last week. Alex Lyon is also out four weeks which opens the door right up for Stolarz.
Flyers Lineup tonight:— Bill Meltzer (@billmeltzer) September 24, 2018
Giroux - Vorobyev - Konecny
JVR - Patrick - Voracek
Laughton - Knight - Raffl
Aube-Kubel - Lehterä - Weise
Provorov - Ghost
Hägg - Myers
MacDonald - Folin