The Philadelphia Flyers couldn’t pull off the victory, but there was a lot of good to take away from their 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers, starting with Travis Sanheim.
The Philadelphia Flyers were the best team on the ice last night, but sometimes that’s not good enough. Were this a regular season game (or god forbid, Game 7 of a playoff series), a 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers like this one would hurt a lot more.
But because it’s the preseason, the result doesn’t matter. What matters are the individual performances, and fortunately for the Flyers, there were a lot of good ones. Let’s get right to the observations.
- The Flyers outshot the Rangers 39-31, won 62% of faceoffs, and generally controlled play for the greater part of the game. As a whole, the team gets a strong B+ for their performance.
- Travis Sanheim was the hero of the game, scoring both of the Flyers’ two goals and looking confident and aggressive all night. The first was on a blistering slap shot from the left circle, and the second came on a rebound after Sanheim drove hard to the net. Andrew MacDonald and Brandon Manning, you should be very worried.
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- As we noted yesterday, this game featured the debut of a Giroux-Couturier-Voracek top line, with Giroux on the wing. How did they look? Well, the line performed well, generating many quality scoring chances, but several small execution errors prevented them from getting on the scoresheet.
- Several of those execution errors came from Claude Giroux, who had a very sloppy first game on the wing. His passing and neutral zone play were both uneven, and he botched a 2-on-0 by making an unnecessary extra pass to Voracek. These problems likely have more to do with rust than playing out of position though, so perhaps the Flyers will decide to continue the experiment.
- But let’s get back to the good stuff! Travis Konecny, Michal Neuvirth, and Shayne Gostisbehere all brought their A-games against the Rangers. Konecny showed off his speed and playmaking, Neuvirth was rock-solid, and Gostisbehere’s aggressiveness led to several Flyers scoring chances.
- Radko Gudas absolutely destroyed a Ranger entering the Flyers’ zone, proving that the word “preseason” means nothing to him.
- Jordan Weal fanned on a few one-timers. You’ll get ’em next time, Jordan.
- Despite seeing their powerplay go 0-5, the Flyers were consistently making clean zone entries and generating good chances. The PP2 unit looked especially impressive, even though Sean Couturier still looks awkward playing Giroux’s position.
Most Fly (player/play of game)
Travis Sanheim, no doubt about it. It’s incredible how fast and dramatic his turnaround has been since the start of training camp. He can’t quite be considered “likely to make the roster” yet, but he’s making it very hard for Hextall and the front office to consider cutting him.
Least Fly (the opposite)
Nolan Patrick somehow got called for high-sticking after a Rangers player got hit in the mouth by his own teammate’s stick. Not the finest moment of that referee’s career. You know it’s the preseason, though, when Dave Hakstol can watch a replay of said penalty and shrug indifferently.
Better to be good than lucky in the preseason, and the Flyers definitely were the former.