Last night, the Philadelphia Flyers avenged their only regulation loss of the preseason. Tonight, they’re hoping to avenge another against the New York Islanders.
In the first game of the preseason, it took Anthony Beauvillier one shot to secure an overtime victory. He rushed down the left side of the ice in transition, adjusted his aim, and beat Samuel Ersson for the game-winner. Since then, Philadelphia has made appropriate adjustments in 3v3 scenarios.
Unlike their previous tilt versus the Islanders, the Flyers will stick with one goaltender instead of splitting ice time with two. Carter Hart outlasted Jeremy Swayman in the overtime victory versus the Bruins. Tonight, Martin Jones gets another start between the pipes. He’s won once this preseason versus the Washington Capitals.
Alain Vigneault will likely deploy a lineup consisting of prospects against an Islanders team who will play more veterans. It’s all an effort to see which younger players stick before the final preseason contest in Washington. Players on the cusp of a reserve spot, like Connor Bunnaman, will have an opportunity to earn a roster spot as a thirteenth forward. Following the first Ryan Ellis roughing penalty, Bunnaman and Jackson Cates upped the intensity along the boards. Vigneault hadn’t ruled Bunnaman out, especially during his post-game press conference following last night’s victory:
Will Philadelphia avenge their other preseason loss?
Barry Trotz has his twelve forwards “pretty much set.” From our point of view, the New York Islanders have remained lax regarding their approach to training camp. Heading into their first preseason contest in Philadelphia, Trotz hadn’t practiced special teams. Yet, Noah Dobson put the Islanders ahead in the third period with a powerplay goal. It was the Philadelphia Flyers, who emphasized special teams, that struggled.
On Saturday, the New Jersey Devils defeated the Islanders in overtime. Kieffer Bellows represented the lone Islanders goal with an assist by Mathew Barzal.
The Islanders predicate their game plan around “speed kills.” When teams dictate the pace of a game, they increase their chances of winning. It’s also the opportunistic teams who can spoil great efforts. Before the puck drops tonight, the Islanders’ penalty kill remains perfect.
Trotz credits Otto Koivula for logging precious minutes in 5v3 penalty kill scenarios. The lax approach curated a penalty kill that is 11/11 this preseason. Meanwhile, the Flyers have surrendered a powerplay goal in each preseason game.
An Eye on Philadelphia
Most of the players in the lineup against the New York Islanders tonight did not play versus the Boston Bruins a night ago. On paper, the Philadelphia Flyers are putting a team of mostly prospects and fringe players on the ice against an Islanders lineup closely resembling their opening night.
Martin Jones gets another preseason start. In his last, he secured a victory against the Washington Capitals sans forwards Tom Wilson, Alexander Ovechkin, and Daniel Sprong. Jones recovered after allowing a powerplay goal from Aliaksei Protas within the first four minutes of the first period. Tonight, he’ll face an even greater test.
Justin Braun, Travis Sanheim, and Rasmus Ristolainen will resemble the veteran leadership on defense. Cam York and Nick Seeler are back on the ice too. One will push the offense from the blue line while the other stops oncoming pucks in front of the goaltender.
Connor Bunnaman, Jackson Cates, and Linus Sandin should garner focus from Alain Vigneault and Chuck Fletcher. Constructing a lineup of prospects and bottom-six forwards means the Flyers are making decisions regarding extra forwards and defensemen. Sandin, who I figured to be a favorite prospect at right-wing since Wade Allison suffered his injury, is on an entry-level contract that expires at the end of this season. Did he do enough to make an impression on Vigneault? For my money, Cates and Bunnaman stood out just a little more.
Other veterans who will lace the skates for Philadelphia are Derick Brassard, Scott Laughton, and Nate Thompson. Nicolas Aube-Kubel, who was buzzing last night against the Bruins, is also in tonight’s Flyers lineup.
Here are some predictions as to what may unfold during tonight’s Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders preseason showdown:
- Derick Brassard assist.
- Rasmus Ristolainen 5+ hits.
- Nick Seeler 3+ blocked shots.
- Tyson Foerster PPG.
It’s the preseason rematch between these two franchises. There’s no telecast for this game, but it will stream on the Islanders website. The puck drops at 7pm.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre