Reese’s Remarks: Konecny scores, Sabres hold off Flyers

Flyers' Travis Konecny
Flyers’ Travis Konecny (Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)

After two games in the 2022-2023 NHL Preseason, the Philadelphia Flyers are 1-1-0 following a 2-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

Brandon Biro scored both goals for the Sabres; one on a quick cut fed by Lukas Rousek and the other rounding the top of the faceoff circle, beating Troy Grosenick through a layered screen set by Alex Tuch. Travis Konecny did tie the game at 1-1, but Malcolm Subban blanked the Flyers to preserve the close victory after Biro scored his second.

Despite the loss, Philadelphia continues to show some promise. The Cates Brothers continue to display a high motor, and Morgan Frost created some quality scoring chances, driving entries into the offensive zone. Samuel Ersson, like Subban, blanked the opposition. Let’s jump into the context of this game with Reese’s Remarks:

Travis Konecny

On Sunday, this first line buzzed at the Flyers Training Center. Frost centered a line featuring James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny. In camp, van Riemsdyk and Frost had all the fun.

“Oh, I play with Frosty a lot. I love playing with Frosty. He loves holding the puck and making plays. When you play with a guy like that you just got to be ready at all times, try to get into open ice for him to make a play.”

Travis Konecny; 9/27/2022

Konecny was the stand-out tonight, pumping two quick chances down the wing into the offensive zone. He didn’t beat Craig Anderson at first but did the second time, tying the game 1-1. Tuch took a cheap shot at Konecny following the goal, venturing down the road lowest traveled. Missing the final few shifts of the first period, Konecny returned to begin the second and finish the rest of the game.

He is beginning to shoot first, not looking for the drop-back pass on the rush. Konecny and Frost combined for quality opportunities in the offensive zone and could find themselves together in the Flyers’ top-six on opening night.

“The first one, I think I could’ve taken it to the net, and then the second one I didn’t even think about it; just made sure I took it to the net. It worked out.”

Travis Konecny; 9/27/2022

The Cates Brothers

Consider the Cates Brothers’ journey to the NHL. They’ve played hockey with each other growing up and share the ice at the highest level. Now, they’re both excelling in the same off-season camps. When Philadelphia takes the ice to test their might against another NHL opponent, they consistently make an impression. They didn’t earn a point, but Jackson and Noah Cates show tenacity.

“The Cates Brothers again tonight; they’re working, they look good, they’re in sync,” Laperriere said before acknowledging that’s probably because they’re brothers with a laugh. “They’re getting chances because they work hard. That’s what Torts wants to see. They didn’t miss a beat, like all camp. So far, they’ve been the best guys out there not only in games, but in practice they do the little things right.”

Jackson routinely combines his two-way effort to extend or create offensive possessions. Tonight, he held Buffalo inside of their defensive zone along the blue line on the same shift where his brother pressed on the forecheck. The Cates Brothers squeeze opponents, creating high-danger chances on offense. It happened against the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins en route to a scoring play and nearly happened against the Sabres.

Additionally, Jackson continues to help a perfect powerplay unit in the 2022 NHL Preseason. Jackson is finding his groove on special teams.

Noah never quits on a play. He toppled over in the neutral zone, recovered, and separated the puck away from a forward with a stick check in the same linear sequence. Both brothers have a competitive level accentuated when they’re on the ice together, and that’s a credit to Chuck Fletcher when assembling the lineup.

Ronnie Attard

Everything Kjell Samuelsson said about Attard during the 2022 Flyers Development Camp lingers. Attard was actively shooting, blending offensive zone aggression with physicality in the defensive end. He was decisive when taking a shot, taking the usual one-timer from the point. Eventually, those will hit, and we’ve seen flashes of Attard in the offensive zone during the 2021-2022 season.

What stands out in this performance was the moment he stood up Rasmus Dahlin in the defensive zone. The opposing defenseman briefly had the puck on offense. Attard took the opportunity to halt momentum, stopping Dahlin in his tracks while separating him from the puck. Consistently, Attard is providing stability on defense. It was the critical focus Mike O’Connell highlighted when watching the video on Erik Cernak or Jacob Trouba with Attard during the 2022 Flyers Development Camp.

Samuel Ersson

Thus far, Grosenick is the only Flyers goaltender to allow a goal during the first two preseason games. He played two periods in the 2-1 loss to the Sabres, beaten by two intelligent shots from Biro. Ersson will likely rotate with Grosenick with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the AHL.

“Ersson, I thought was really good. For a guy who had been sitting for forty minutes to come out like that, he made the big saves. He’s proving he’s probably an NHL goalie right now, even if he missed that much time last year, and hopefully he’s going to keep building on that.”

Ian Laperriere; 9/27/2022

Officially, Grosenick saved 12/14 shots for an 85.7%SV. Ersson faced half as many shots on goal but finished with a 100%SV.

Philadelphia Flyers

While Buffalo had more players with NHL experience in their lineup, which typically means more talent, Philadelphia played them close. Both teams tallied 21 shots on goal and were 3/3 on the penalty kill. Buffalo was able to apply more pressure on their powerplay.

The Flyers did extend more possessions at the faceoff dot. Puck possession, whether it’s winning faceoffs or on the man-advantage, goes a long way in terms of shot production. Philadelphia didn’t accumulate many shots on the man-advantage but did find a way to put pucks on the net after winning 57.5% of faceoffs.

(Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)