Flyers

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

BOX SCORE

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

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

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

Goalies
Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth

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