Brian Elliott ceremoniously welcomes the preseason with an audible fart on a Thomas Hickey point shot as the Islanders jump out to a 1-0 lead early. Remember, these games are much like the points on Whose Line is it Anyways, and while they don’t count, it didn’t make this duck from the point any better for the veteran backstop.
Armed with a virtual lock at a top-six role on defense, Philippe Myers did his best to get the Hickey goal back with some sweet maneuvers in the Islanders zone but couldn’t stuff home the wrap-around attempt after the superb individual effort you see below.
Here's the Phil Myers sequence from earlier, using his frame and terrific skating to his advantage pic.twitter.com/JBWjRXHRsP— Brandon Murphy (@2Murphy8) September 16, 2019
No more scoring in the opening 20 minutes of the preseason, but here’s a look at Shayne Gostisbehere showing off some fine work in the defensive zone: an area where he apparently is eager to show new coach Alain Vigneault he cares about.
Ghost with a sliding block to end the period. pic.twitter.com/RQhiMmzAnm— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) September 16, 2019
After a few solid but unfulfilled chances in the opening frame the Flyers would break through early in the second with some fine work from some of their big guns.
Kevin Hayes found Jakub Voracek with a beautiful cross-ice feed and the winger swung it over to James van Riemsdyk in front for the tap-in goal to tie things up at 1-1. Hayes shielded the puck from the defense and showed a little bit of the offensive upside that prompted GM Chuck Fletcher to back up the proverbial Brinks truck this summer.
Hayes ➡️ Voracek ➡️ van Riemsdyk pic.twitter.com/qJ7fUybiMj— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) September 17, 2019
A JVR-Hayes-Voracek line would figure to be the Flyers’ ideal second line to start the season, and to see some chemistry early on is #good.
Elliott settled down after a leaky goal, but was relieved by Alex Lyon about midway through the second and Lyon responded with some impressive saves. It’s worth noting that the AHL veteran is likely the next man up in the crease behind Carter Hart should Elliott’s recent injury history continue this season.
Speaking of injuries, Chris Stewart — currently on a professional try out — got into a fight in a preseason game. How the Flyers issued the veteran Kimmo Timonen’s illustrious No. 44 —even for a few meaningless games — is appalling. The knockoff version of Gritty can’t figure it out either.
Gritty The Second (?) was not happy with that call. pic.twitter.com/H7kCfpl5v5— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) September 17, 2019
JVR’s equalizer would be the only goal in the second, meaning a tense 1-1 tie heading into the all-important third stanza in this first preseason tilt.
Because apparently it’s 2011, Lucas Sbisa would break the 1-1 deadlock early in the third to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead. The former FlyerTM beat Lyon with a rather perfect shot that might have been slightly altered prior to getting through to the netminder.
Fear not, Kevin Hayes is already eager to prove that he’s actually good (He is!) by nearly responding with a wicked hard slap shot from the right circle. Sadly, he did not score but he tried really hard and that’s just fine until the real games start there Kev.
Good chance by Hayes in the slot, but he's denied pic.twitter.com/rFIW8aM5uY— Brandon Murphy (@2Murphy8) September 17, 2019
Because you just have to be treated to more preseason hockey action, the Islanders took a pair of late penalties to beg the Flyers to tie things up and give the paying folks some free hockey. They failed to capitalize on a too much man call, but were immediately gifted with another call and another chance.
Unfortunately a late push in the Islanders’ zone resulted in a couple dandy Christopher Gibson saves and sent the Flyers away to the other end where Erik Brown would find the empty net and put a bow on a 3-1 Islanders win.
Final: Islanders 3, Flyers 1 :(