Shayne Gostisbehere scored twice on the power play and Mikhail Vorobyev improved his chances of making the Flyers as the team won its first game of the preseason 3-1 over the New York Islanders Monday night. Michal Neuvirth and Carter Hart shared the win and Claude Giroux added two assists.
Most scouting reports had noted Vorobyev’s ability to do the little things. That definitely held true in the first stanza, but he was also able to add a goal to his resume.
With just over three minutes left in the period, Ivan Provorov started a rush from behind his net. At the blue line, he found Vorobyev, who played a give-and-go with Jake Voracek. The Russian forward split the Islanders defenders and beat Thomas Greiss low far side to give the Flyers the 1-0 lead.
If we can do this all season, we might be okay pic.twitter.com/GSoRmtr4DQ
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) September 17, 2018
Two and a half minutes later, Claude Giroux and Gostisbehere proved their chemistry on the man advantage didn’t go anywhere over the summer. After working the puck around on a 5-on-3 advantage, Giroux set up Gostisbehere with a clean pass from the low red line. The blueliner one-timed the shot for the 2-0 lead.
👻🐻in midseason form pic.twitter.com/P9UnOswNRl
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) September 17, 2018
The first 17 minutes of the game though, didn’t offer much in the form of excitement. Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth was only tested once by Mike Sislo, but the Islander shot it right into the Czech’s breadbasket. Philly’s best chance besides the goal came at the seven-minute mark when Gostisbehere hit the crossbar after Mike Vecchione won a board battle.
On the Flyers’ second goal, James van Riemsdyk created a perfect screen and he did the same exact thing for Philadelphia’s third goal just over five minutes into the second period. Back on the man advantage again, Giroux set up Gostisbehere for a blast and the puck went in again, this time off a deflection. It was Ghost’s second goal and Giroux’s second assist in their first preseason game.
Second ghost bomb of the game! pic.twitter.com/hZErR4xjq5
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) September 18, 2018
Although the Islanders’ offense disappeared between the end of the first period and the beginning of the second, they were the next to strike on the score sheet. Off a bad giveaway and then bad coverage, Sislo made the game 3-1 when Ryan Hitchcock found him cross-ice between Robert Hagg and Isaac Ratcliffe. The goal also marked the end of Neuvirth’s night and the beginning of Carter Hart’s.
But from there, there wasn’t a whole lot of action — especially in Hart’s side of the ice. Scott Laughton had a surprising chance after a weird ricochet off an Isles defender and Jordan Weal had a power play chance later, but Jeremy Smith, who took over for Greiss, made both stops.
With a two-goal lead, the Flyers settled in for the victory — it is the preseason after all. Corban Knight almost scored when he hit the post late in the period, but that’s all that really amounted for offensive production from the Flyers.
The Islanders had two power plays, the first tested Hart more than the second, but neither were that dangerous. A last minute push forced Hart to make some tougher saves.
- As mentioned, Voroybev has done a lot of the small things well and works hard. Tonight, he showed some offensive instinct in his goal, which should only help him in his push for a roster spot.
- Myers had a couple mistakes early in the game, but settled in later in the night. He looked more assertive on his blue line, but did take an interference penalty in the third period. It didn’t seem like a step back by any means for the defenseman, but not much of a step forward either.
- Weal won’t make Vorobyev’s path to the NHL easy. The 26 year old was flying and helped create offense often. He was held off the stat sheet though.
- Nicolas Aube-Kubel had a quietly effective game working along the boards. He was a solid complement to Giroux and Weal, but may need to do more offensively.
- Laughton was the best player on his line with Weise and Corban Knight, usually operating as the set-up man. Even if he doesn’t take a center spot, Laughton has plenty of value as a winger on this team.
- Knight, a darkhorse option for one of the bottom-six center spots, was mostly invisible in terms of impact, besides a late-game shot that hit the post.
- Neuvirth saw just nine shots, making eight saves. None of them were real tests and the goal wasn’t his fault, but he looked fine tracking the puck and in his movements. Still, it’d be easier to evaluate him if he saw more rubber.
- Hart saw more action and did look better, though he was more active than Neuvirth. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t a good game for judging the goalies in the Flyers’ crease.
- Yegor Zamula may have been the only player on the Flyers with just an ATO, but you wouldn’t have known watching him. He was calm with the puck and effective defensively. That’s the kind of play that could earn him more games and a contract.
Tuesday, Sept. 18 @ Islanders, 7 p.m.