Flyers blanked by Devils in 2023 preseason clash

Flyers' Joel Farabee
Philadelphia Flyers left wing Joel Farabee (86) skates off the ice during his team’s loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs after an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022 in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)


The Philadelphia Flyers visited the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, to take on the New Jersey Devils. Before the game, Ian Laperriere noted the difference between camp scrimmages and facing an outside opponent in the preseason. 

“Scrimmages is one thing. Practices is another thing. Every camp, even as a player, you go through scrimmages against your friends; it’s intense, but not really. Now we got the first preseason game; it cranks up a little bit, and more, and more.”

Ian Laperriere; 9/25/2023

One team seemed prepared to battle outside competition. It wasn’t the visitors. On home ice, the Devils dominated the Flyers throughout the exhibition.

Flyers at Devils

Cal Petersen was the starting goaltender for the Flyers, scheduled to swap out with Felix Sandstrom in the third period. He went head-to-head with Vitek Vanecek, who eventually traded places with Erik Kallgren.

A nightmarish first period saw the Flyers surrender four goals within six minutes.

Ondrej Palat, Erik Haula, Tyce Thompson, and Alexander Holtz ripped the sequence of goals past Petersen, who didn’t receive much help from the defense. Jesper Bratt and Palat got ahead of Nick SeelerOliver Bonk, and Wade Allison, leaving Petersen out to dry for the tip-in, 1-0. Bratt set up another scoring sequence after Sean Walker wandered away from the crease, quickly dishing to Haula nearby the crease, 2-0. Thompson extended the lead on a rebound created by Cal Foote, 3-0. Holtz officially made it a rout before six minutes passed after Timo Meier stole the puck from Cam York, setting up a quick release past Petersen, 4-0.

“They came at us hard. They had a lot of experienced guys in there. It put us on our heels a little bit, down one early. That’s what preseason’s for; you want to make mistakes, you want to get up to speed. We’re just going to take the things that we can learn from out of this game; not the result we wanted, but it’s more about the process. It’s more about the things we can do better for next game, and keep building.”

Cal Petersen; 9/25/2023

Morgan FrostJoel Farabee, and Emil Andrae did recover after the early onslaught. Frost led the Flyers with shots on goal after the first period, but Farabee and Andrae had two quality chances.

Walker served a minor penalty for delay of the game as the Flyers sunk into their deficit. The Devils took advantage of the powerplay, cracking the penalty kill. Nico Hischier let the penalty kill collapse around him, then allowed Meier to finish on an open look, 5-0.

Brendan Furry had a quick breakaway chance in the second period, but Vanecek flashed a pad to preserve his contribution to the shutout. Farabee kept the fire alive, keeping Vanecek busy, but didn’t convert a shot into a goal. The Devils outshot the Flyers, 24-11, after two periods. Petersen exited with a 79.1%SV. Sandstrom went head-to-head with Kallgren in the third period.

“As a team, we were off tonight. We weren’t good on the forecheck; they were coming at us hard, [we] couldn’t break out. Not really much we could do, to be honest.”

Sean Couturier; 9/25/2023

For the first time in this preseason tilt, the first high-danger event wasn’t at the expense of the Flyers. Allison led Matt Brown into a breakaway chance, but he rang the puck off the post. It was the best scoring chance of the entire evening for the Flyers. Then, York revisited the box for the second time, putting the pressure back on the penalty kill and possession with the Devils.

Sandstrom held off a powerplay goal, improving the Flyers penalty kill to 3/4 on the evening, but Michael McLeod added the final nail. On a breakaway, he beat Sandstrom to extend the lead, 6-0.

Cam Atkinson (-)

Along with Sean CouturierCam Atkinson was supposed to return. He didn’t because he experienced soreness unrelated to his neck and shoulder injuries from a season ago. Daniel Briere advised it was ‘lower body.’

“I found out like you guys this morning. He [Atkinson] went through practice, and then they told me he was a no-go.”

Ian Laperriere; 9/25/2023

You have to feel for Atkinson. He intended on making his return to the ice, but his body wouldn’t allow it quite yet. Overall, it’s the right decision to make. There’s no sense in risking health in an exhibition game with the regular season ahead.

Joel Farabee (+)

Despite the Flyers being on the wrong end of a crushing shutout, Farabee did play with bite. His two shots on goal tested Vanecek, who faced 11 of the 21 total shots blocked by Devils goaltending. 

Farabee and Couturier were the only forwards to play more than 18 minutes. Both played a disciplined game, but Farabee contributed to more scoring opportunities. His best shot followed Kevin Bahl decking Allison during a powerplay, but Vanecek made the read.

Up Next 

Next, the Flyers travel to the UBS Arena on Wednesday to battle the New York Islanders at 7pm.

(Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)