The Philadelphia Flyers opened up the 2018 NHL preseason on Sunday afternoon in Long Island against the New York Islanders. Unfortunately, the orange and black left a lot to be desired, falling to the Isles by way of a shutout.
One of the most significant areas of focus for the Flyers this year is improving on what has been an abysmal penalty-kill for many seasons. Unfortunately, Philadelphia’s penalty-kill demonstrated some of the same old junk on two opportunities in the first period. The first mishap occurred just 6:55 into the contest when Kieffer Bellows put the Islanders ahead with a power-play goal. The second New York goal came at the tail-end of a man-advantage later on in the period. Though Cal Clutterbuck’s tally was not officially deemed a power play, we might as well call it one. Yes, it was the first period of the Flyers first preseason game. However, this is not what the organization and its fanbase wanted to see from an area that drastically needs improvement.
— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) September 16, 2018
Overall, the Islanders had the upper hand for most of the opening stanza. The Flyers struggled to produce much of anything, recording only five shots and failing to capitalize on their only power play.
The biggest event of note that took place in the middle created a cause for concern for the Flyers. Matt Martin lived up to his nasty reputation, driving Travis Sanheim into the boards. Unfortunately, Sanheim appeared to leave exchange with an injury, causing him to head to the locker room. No too much time will be spent chewing out Martin for the dirty hit, but that kind of play is just completely unnecessary in the preseason. Philadelphia can only hope that not too much damage was done to Sanheim.
Midway through the second period, the Flyers changed goaltenders, bringing in Alex Lyon for Anthony Stolarz. This move was merely to give Lyon some time between the pipes and not due to a poor performance by Stolarz. However, Stolarz allowed two goals on fifteen shots.
New York was the only team to score in the second period. Sebastian Aho found the back of the net 16:29 into the frame, giving the Islanders a 3-0 lead. In regards to chances by the Flyers, the team matched their first-period effort with five shots.
Third Period/Final Thoughts
The final period provided very little intrigue as both teams failed to score and the Flyers lost their first preseason game by a score of 3-0. Of course, it is only the preseason and winning really is not the most important thing. However, Philadelphia provided very little to boast about. The penalty-kill is still a work in progress and the offense struggled to get anything going.
Again, the most important news from Sunday’s contest was Sanheim left the game in the second period with an apparent upper-body injury and did not return. Ron Hextall told the media an update would be provided tomorrow.
The Flyers will get right back into preseason action as they will take on the Islanders once again tomorrow night.