Flyers-Rangers preseason observations: Sam Morin does little bit of everything in OT win

Flyers-Rangers preseason observations: Sam Morin does little bit of everything in OT win


The Flyers are milking preseason hockey for every minute they can as they forced overtime for the fifth time in six games.

But in their first preseason game at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night, the orange and the black finally prevailed, 4-3, as Travis Konecny connected on a second-chance effort after his initial shot was stopped by Ondrej Pavelec. Konecny also added an assist in the game.

The Flyers are 2-1-3 in the preseason with two games left before the Oct. 4 season opener.

• Oskar Lindblom broke a 2-2 tie 5:27 into the third period when he redirected Andrew MacDonald’s shot from just inside the blue line. It was Lindblom’s first goal of the preseason as he looks to secure his spot for opening night. 

• The ultra-speedy Michael Grabner answered with the game-tying goal with 2:21 remaining in the game.

• Coming off an outstanding performance Monday at Madison Square Garden, Travis Sanheim was stripped of the puck by David Desharnais behind the Flyers' net. Jimmy Vesey fed a wide-open Paul Carey on the left side of the net for a “gimme-putt” goal that opened the scoring, a 1-0 Rangers lead in the first period.

• Desharnais increased the Rangers' lead to 2-0 when he ripped a slap shot from the high slot over Brian Elliott’s blocker on New York’s first power play of the game in the opening stanza. Elliott appeared to have been screened as Michael Raffl’s attempt to block the shot came up short.    

• After dropping the gloves earlier in the first period (see video), Sam Morin cut New York’s lead to 2-1 with a snipe from the high slot over the shoulder of goaltender Pavelec. The Flyers took that momentum into the second period when fourth-liners Scott Laughton and Raffl teamed up on a 2-on-1 resulting in Laughton’s tap-in goal that tied the game at 2-2.

• How porous is the Flyers' power play? It set up the Rangers' penalty-kill unit with two uncontested scoring chances in the opening 7:30. Shayne Gostisbehere was stripped on the Flyers' first power play by Grabner, whose breakaway was denied by Elliott. On the Flyers' second power play, Gabriel Fontaine came around the right side with a backhand shot that an outstretched Elliott snagged with his glove.

• The Flyers' power play had some chances to break the ice, but finished the night 0 for 5 and is now 0 for 19 in the last three games.

• The intimidating Morin laid out Rangers forward Fontaine, and then had to accept Bobby Farnham’s challenge. With a size difference of eight inches, Morin was able to land a few rights before both guys were escorted to the penalty box. Farnham received an instigator and an ensuing game misconduct, which led to a Flyers power play. 

• Jordan Weal has quietly had a very solid preseason as he looks to solidify his place in the Flyers' top six. Working with the second power-play unit, Weal skated in alone through the slot but shot it into the midsection of Pavelec. 

Rating the rookie D-men
1. Sam Morin — Morin continues to string together solid games throughout the preseason. He has shown discipline and has dropped the gloves in response to the opponent, which has resulted in a power play on a couple of occasions. Tuesday, Morin added another line to his résumé with an accurate wrist shot on a feed from Claude Giroux (see story). When Morin makes a mistake (there have been few), he’s been quick in his recovery. Of the rookie defensemen, Morin has shown he’s most NHL ready. A virtual lock to make the opening night roster.

2a. Travis Sanheim — In a league that has become so defensive-minded, you need that second wave of offense, which precisely plays into Sanheim’s strength. He has displayed a wicked slap shot and awareness to jump into the play at the right time. He still has flaws in the defensive zone and has been turnover-prone at times. The question remains: Can you sacrifice the occasional defensive mistake for the tremendous offensive upside he brings?

2b. Robert Hagg — Hagg has seen his play dip slightly in these last two preseason games after a very strong first week of camp. He had a shaky opening 10 minutes in the game at Madison Square Garden, but  rebounded nicely. He seems comfortable as a stay-at-home defenseman, but doesn’t shy away from jumping into the play offensively when the opportunity presents itself. He’s been good on the penalty kill, and for the most part, Hagg has shown the poise and confidence to stick with the Flyers. 

Lines, pairings and scratches

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Nolan Patrick-Dale Weise
Oskar Lindblom-Mikhail Vorobyev-Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl

Robert Hagg-Andrew MacDonald
Sam Morin-Shayne Gostisbehere
Brandon Manning-Travis Sanheim

Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth

Scratches: Wayne Simmonds, Mike Vecchione, Jori Lehtera, Valtteri Filppula, Ivan Provorov, Matt Read

What Petr Mrazek hopes to add to Flyers

What Petr Mrazek hopes to add to Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Petr Mrazek was the first Flyer on the ice for Wednesday's practice, spending considerable time with goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh.

"We talked about strategy a little bit, how to square up to the puck, how to help the D and the PK and how to manage things," Mrazek said. "I think we had a good conversation and I'm looking forward to working with him and try and help the team."

Mrazek was also the first guy off the ice, an early indication that he'll make his Flyers debut Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center. Mrazek spent his first day in Philadelphia serving as Alex Lyon's backup and watched his new team from the bench, quickly noticing how the Flyers moved the puck from zone to zone.  

"Everyone was really fast in transition yesterday," Mrazek said. "We were trying to get the puck out of the zone as quick as we can."

Mrazek believes he can help facilitate quick breakouts with the way he plays the puck and working the puck to his defensemen.

"I'm really confident in playing the puck and helping the defense," Mrazek said. "I like to be involved behind the net and put the puck on their sticks and get the puck out of the zone. Especially on the road, it's very important when teams chip the puck behind the net and try to make a play out there."

Playing the puck efficiently will certainly help Mrazek rest easier, as was his first night in Philadelphia. Staying at a nearby hotel, Mrazek was able to get a good night's rest after barely getting any sleep the night he was traded to Philadelphia. 

"I was fine today," he said, "but yesterday when I woke up at four in the morning, I asked myself, 'Is this really happening?'"

Flyers survive a scare with Travis Konecny

Flyers survive a scare with Travis Konecny

VOORHEES, N.J. — T.K. appears to be OK.

The Flyers have apparently survived a scare, even though Travis Konecny sat out Wednesday's workout. The Flyers' winger was given a maintenance day to recover from soreness from Tuesday's win over the Canadiens.

General manager Ron Hextall listed Konecny as probable after he took a slap shot off his left skate in the first period that severely hampered his mobility.

Konecny labored throughout the majority of the game, unable to sustain for prolonged periods with nine shifts under 30 seconds. The 20-year-old winger has been a primary contributor during the Flyers' second-half surge with 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in his last 24 games since being moved up to the Flyers' top line.

Tuesday night was just the seventh time during that 24-game span Konecny failed to register a point. The Flyers will make a determination following Thursday's morning skate regarding his availability against the Blue Jackets.

"Either you can play or you can't this time of year," Dave Hakstol said. "Nobody would be surprised to know that around the league there's a lot of guys that play at a little bit less than 100 percent. This time of year, that's how it is. You have to be able to do your job at a high level. That's the line — you're on one side of it or the other, and we'll make that decision."

Taylor Leier, a healthy scratch the past seven games, skated in Konecny's spot on the Flyers' top line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier.