As to be expected with two defensively-minded squads, it was a pretty boring first 20 minutes of hockey in South Philly. Both goalies had minimal stressful situations, but both made saves when they needed to. Jeremy Swayman made a fantastic save on Nicolas Aube-Kubel who used a power move to beat the defender, and tried to score with a cross-body shot.
NAK was by far the most impressive Flyer of the period, and looked more like the player we saw come into his own in 2019-20. Last season wasn’t the season we expected from him, but with a normal training camp and normal preseason, it finally looks like the old NAK is back.
Two youngsters on the blueline played well in Wyatt Wylie and Linus Hogberg. Wylie did get beat on a similar play to NAK’s scoring chance, but other than that he handled himself well. Hogberg struggled with the puck in his skates a few times, but also made some nice reads and pass interceptions.
Alright well certainly a lot more action to talk about from the next 20 minutes. Boston controlled the play for the better part of the period, and got on the board first with a great effort by Jack Studnicka. Wylie, who had looked good, could have been stronger in front of the net, but this is to be expected from a prospect.
Speaking of prospects, one making his preseason debut tonight in Elliot Desnoyers was already having a solid game, and then endeared himself to the fans by dropping the gloves. It was a short bout with John Moore but seeing that fight from Desnoyers in his first game? Cool to see. The 2020 fifth round pick wore an “A” and scored 49 points in 37 games last year for Halifax of the QMJHL.
The Flyers power play struggled on its first two attempts, but on the last two they really seemed to change the mentality. First two featured a more passive approach trying to set up a perfect play, with the last two seeing a more “shoot-first” style. Keith Yandle had been running the point beautifully each attempt, and his ability to do so came in handy on Sean Couturier’s one-time rocket to tie the game. It felt like Couturier had attempted this exact shot at least five times before the goal, so this had to feel good.
They’d get another crack on the power play essentially to start the final frame, and despite getting some quality looks, failed to convert. The positive is that the power play seemed to look better and better each time they went out there. Sure, it’s a Boston roster featuring not too many guys who they expect to be main contributors, but the point remains. Boston always has a good penalty kill, so getting quality looks pretty consistently is good regardless.
Boston continued to push play on the Flyers though at 5-on-5, but the occasional look still came. A big one came from a beautiful pass by Oskar Lindblom who beat out an icing call, and found a cutting Morgan Frost. Unfortunately for Frost, Swayman was just about impossible to beat tonight.
Speaking of good goaltending, Carter Hart turned in another fantastic performance. On the Studnicka goal there really wasn’t much Hart could do, since the rebound came off the goal post. Otherwise, Hart looked as sharp as ever. It’s no secret how much of a struggle last year was for the kid, but even in limited preseason action, it looks like the Hart of old.
And with that ... we get another overtime in another preseason. Even in games that do not matter, the Flyers love the idea of the pity point. After 60 minutes the Flyers outshot Boston 34-25.
Well, that was quick!
Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov got a 2-on-1, and although Konecny struggled settling the puck down for a second, he made the feed to Provorov who ended the game.
Gotta love these fake shootouts am I right? Konecny scores the only goal and Hart finishes off a great game by stopping all three shots.