Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Joel Farabee
James van Riemsdyk – Morgan Frost – Jakub Voracek
Andy Andreoff – German Rubtsov – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Carsen Twarynski – Connor Bunnaman – Kyle Criscuolo
Ivan Provorov – Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere – Philippe Myers
Tyler Wotherspoon – Justin Braun
Chris Bigras – Robert Michel
Brian Elliott – Alex Lyon
Having dropped both of their first preseason games this season, the Philadelphia Flyers came back to home ice on Thursday night for their first tilt against someone other than the New York Islanders: the Boston Bruins.
The night would also mark the pre-season debut for captain Claude Giroux and new blueliner Matt Niskanen, as well as forward prospect Morgan Frost who had been sidelined with an injury early in training camp.
With Travis Konecny not slated to play a game until Saturday, head coach Alain Vigneault stayed true to his word, that he prefers to put young players with top veterans to give them an opportunity to showcase what they can potentially offer the Flyers if they were to make the NHL roster, by placing Joel Farabee on the top line with Giroux and Sean Couturier and Frost centering the second line between James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek.
The first period was noticeably more intense than the previous two games, with the Bruins playing hard and fast with the puck. Netminder Brian Elliott was peppered with shots early on, as the Flyers struggled to stay out of the defensive zone. But Philadelphia’s young players stepped up to the challenge and demanded to be noticed.
Andy Andreoff scooped up the puck on a breakaway and made a clean cross-crease pass to Frost who was stopped just short of scoring by Boston goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Halak would continue to play spoiler for the youngsters, denying Frost again later in the period on an easy would-be tap-in, and freezing Farabee out on the doorstep.
After the Bruins took a 1-0 lead on a relatively easy goal for Danton Heinen, it was Niskanen’s turn to make sure the Wells Fargo Center crowd and his new coaching staff took notice of him. Accepting a perfectly placed cross-ice feed from Giroux, Niskanen blasted a shot from the point past Halak, with Farabee providing a nice screen in front.
The second period was a different story. Sluggish, sloppy play – particularly by the Flyers defense – and not much in terms of offensive zone pressure. Peter Cehlarik gave the Bruins a go-ahead goal on a bad line change for the Flyers.
As scheduled, Elliott sat out in the third period to give Alex Lyon 20 minute in the crease. Lyon was strong early in the period when he had back-to-back saves, one where he controlled a rebound nicely and then a quick glove save moments later. But Boston wasn’t sitting back, and the Flyers continued to struggle getting out of the defensive zone.
Capping off the scoring for the night was a breakaway goal by Connor Clifton as he exited the penalty box and scored with a little deke and backhand shot on Lyon.
Despite getting plenty of opportunities on the man advantage, the Philly power play units continued to come up empty, going 0-for-13 so far in the preseason. That, coupled with defensive breakdowns and sloppy play late in the game, led the Flyers to their third loss in as many games for the preseason.
After the game our AHL Report team had the chance to speak with head coach Scott Gordon, as well as Frost, Farabee, Sandstrom, and Rubtsov. Listen to the full audio of those interviews in the player below.
Plus / Minus
▲ Morgan Frost, Matt Niskanen, Shayne Gostisbehere
▼ Carsen Twarynski, Tyler Wotherspoon