The Hat Trick: Three takeaways from Flyers preseason finale

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On the road one final time in the 2019 NHL Preseason, the Philadelphia Flyers faced off against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The last time these two teams played each other in the preseason, the Flyers won by a final of 4-1. That was the only win Philadelphia was able to take credit for. There have been a couple of overtime losses against the New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins during the preseason for the Flyers. A win would give Philadelphia some momentum heading into the first regular-season game in Prague, Czech Republic against the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL Global Series.

The starting goalies for the preseason finale were Carter Hart for the Philadelphia Flyers and Henrik Lundqvist for the New York Rangers. In the first period, the Flyers had scoring opportunities available off the stick of Joel Farabee. Farabee did beat Lundqvist on the stick side, but the puck would ricochet off the post. This would be a trend, especially for Farabee in this game. Later in the period, the Rangers had an opportunity to score on a shorthand breakaway. Ivan Provorov made a heads up play to keep the puck from trickling into the net, through Hart’s five-hole. New York would get on the scoreboard first when Lias Andersson tapped the puck into the net with the blade of his stick with twelve seconds left to play in the period.

Down by a goal, the Philadelphia Flyers came out hot again. The scoring chances were there in the first period, but the problem was making them count. Carsen Twarynski had a breakaway, but Henrik Lundqvist made a better save. Lundqvist’s performance was key for the New York Rangers in this game. The Flyers would score the tying goal when Kevin Hayes scorched a pass into a busy crease, taking a fortunate bounce off of a few skates, including Travis Konecny’s. Konecny would be credited with the equalizing goal. Before the end of the second period, Scott Laughton and Joel Farabee had a two-on-one opportunity, but Lundqvist made the play.

At the beginning of the third period, the game momentum seemed to favor the Philadelphia Flyers because of how hard they were making Henrik Lundqvist work in net. Joel Farabee had another close call, dinging the puck off the post. It’s hard to beat Lundqvist and Farabee did it twice, just was unlucky. The New York Rangers had their fair share of good scoring opportunities in the third period, but Carter Hart was playing just as well as Lundqvist was. The quality of goaltending didn’t go unnoticed on either team.

Trying to reverse their overtime woes, the Philadelphia Flyers needed to score on the man advantage. Again, the powerplay is a key factor that the Flyers have struggled with in the past few seasons, which continued this preseason. With a two minute powerplay in overtime, Philadelphia couldn’t convert against Henrik Lundqvist, who was diving around the crease to make saves. Forcing a shootout, Carter Hart would stand tall through the first two shooters that the New York Rangers offered. Claude Giroux couldn’t get his shot away in the shootout, spending too much time trying to deke Lundqvist out of position. In the end, Mika Zibanejad would score the lone goal on the third attempt to give the Rangers the win.

Carter Hart Has Played Wonderful This Preseason

The Philadelphia Flyers starting goaltender surrendered one goal in the preseason during regulation. It was this game against the New York Rangers. This was his “worst” performance in the preseason and IT WAS STILL BRILLIANT! It has been a long time since the Flyers had a true number one goaltender. He’s twenty-one years of age and Philadelphia couldn’t be happier to have him between the pipes. His performance against the Rangers was a fun one to watch because after that game was over, I was left with the impression that I see some Henrik Lundqvist in Carter Hart. That right there is a heck of a compliment.

Joel Farabee Was Unlucky

He has probably been the most unlucky when it comes to scoring in the preseason. Joel Farabee was able to beat Henrik Lundqvist, who is an elite goaltender, twice and hit nothing but iron. You hate to see something like that if you are a Philadelphia Flyers fan, but at the same time, Farabee ought to be something to watch for this season. I think he will contribute more than what he is projected to, which is scary for the Flyers’ opponents. He was able to set up plays with Scott Laughton, which only strengthens that offensive line. Expect Alain Vigneault to have Farabee in the lineup as Philadelphia travels to Prague to face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Global Series.

The Flyers OT/Shootout Woes Continue

This has been another issue for the Philadelphia Flyers over a body of years now. In the regular season, points matter. Winning these shootouts and converting opportunities in overtime has to be a focal point in practices. The two-minute powerplay the Flyers had against the New York Rangers in overtime was irritating because the shots were there, the offense was set, just the goal never happened. A lot of that has to do with Henrik Lundqvist, but that can’t be an excuse. Great goalies are going to be around in the NHL, so Philadelphia has to use more screened shots and make the crease busier. It worked for Konecny earlier in the game off a centering pass from Kevin Hayes. It’s a case of “more, but better.”

The Philadelphia Flyers open the regular season against the Chicago Blackhawks in Prague, Czech Republic for the NHL Global Series on October 4th, 2019 at 2 pm from the O2 Arena.

Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports

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