It’s the last preseason game in the states! It happened! And it was… well it was something. It was a little messy, rife with icings and sometimes lacking in continuity. It saw the Rangers jump out to an early lead after a scramble in front led to a goal for Lias Andersson, but the Flyers were able to get one back when the second period hit. Travis Konecny picked up a goal also as a result of a little chaos and deflecting in front of the net, because that’s really just how things were going. And then it stayed tied for a while with not a whole lot going on. A couple of power plays for each side were a whole lot of nothing. Whomp whomp.
But then! The whole of the third period was more of the same, no more scoring, so we got a bit more overtime! The Flyers and Rangers both got a couple of really good chances, but it was a goaltending duel, and Carter Hart and Henrik Lundqvist both came up big for their team. And you know what that means? A shootout. And we’ll get right to it. The Flyers were stopped, and Mika Zibanejad picked up the lone goal for the Rangers to win it all. And put this weird game to an end.
If nothing else, it was chippy. Lots of players were mixing it up in this one, tempers flaring a bit, which is always a little weird to see in a game that technically doesn’t mean anything. But that’s hockey, or something.
1. Carter Hart
Well, it looks like Hart won’t be going without giving up a goal for the whole preseason, but he’s still consistently bringing solid performances. The Rangers had a number of good chances in this one, putting up 31 shots in total and emphasizing crashing the net, and Hart came up big. He stopped 29 of those shots, and the goals he did allow, we can’t be too upset about. One was a bit of a deflection, and then other saw Zibanejad make a really stellar move to beat him in the shootout. All told, we can feel pretty good about Hart’s performance as we near the regular season. He’s on already,
2. Joel Farabee
It’s been something of the story of the preseason, and it continued tonight, but Farabee just seems to be doing everything right, except putting the puck in the back of the net. But tonight especially he stood out in just how engaged he was, generating offensive chances. He had three very good looks before we even hit the midpoint of the first period. In the second, he made a really nice takeaway at the blue line to set up Michael Raffl in front, and it was a glorious chances, even if Raffl couldn’t bury it. He just always seemed to be in the right place, and it’s been really fun to watch.
3. Travis Konecny
He’s back, folks! He’s been back for a little back, and he’s just gotten through his second game of the preseason, and he looks good! We’ve talked a lot this preseason about players working to shake off some rust and getting the timing back, but this hasn’t really been true of Konecny. He was buzzing around well tonight, getting himself into scoring positions and also, of course, getting involved physically. He’s doing the agitating thing, because of course he is. And then, of course, there was this neat and also pretty lucky goal he scored.
Pucks on net. Good things happen. pic.twitter.com/aeZynntnBQ— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) September 27, 2019
He’s playing his game, easing back into it well, despite missing a bit of time in camp. It’s clicking already.
Two big questions
1. Who stood out on defense?
There wasn’t really anyone who had a massive game tonight, but Ivan Provorov did stand out positively. He contributed a bit offensively, but mostly it was his defensive game that stood out. His gaps were good, he was disruptive on the penalty kill, and he just seemed to always be in the right place (so much so that he also saved a goal early in the game!). After watching him struggle through much of last season, it’s nice to see him starting to look like he’s getting back to old form. He’s figuring it out again.
2. Which bubble forward won/lost a spot tonight?
Man, this section really would have been so much more interesting if we hadn’t just found out that Nolan Patrick won’t be ready to start the season, and Morgan Frost is being sent to the Phantoms, and that means that the roster, as it is, is pretty much set. So barring further moves, this is it! The camp battles are sort of over!
But, all the same, as we noted above, of the, well, former bubble players, Farabee stood out the most. He was really dynamic in creating scoring chances, and as we said, he seems to be doing just about everything right.
It seems that he may well have already won the job, but tonight’s performance further solidified that he earned it.
Play of the game
There were plenty of actual hockey plays that we could highlight here. But we’re not going to use one of those. Instead we’ve got… Sean Couturier? Fighting?! It’s true!