Alain Vigneault wanted to accelerate the process as the Flyers inch closer to the Oct. 4 regular season opener in Prague, Czech Republic.
He saw some acceleration Saturday night.
Playing a lot of regulars, the Flyers won their first preseason game in four tries by beating the Rangers, 4-1, at the Wells Fargo Center. The team looked a hell of a lot better after losing to the Bruins' B-squad Thursday night, which prompted Vigneault's decision to change the Flyers' preseason plan.
Vigneault watched the game from the hockey operations suite in the press box. Just wanted a different view, perhaps? Vigneault evaluated alongside general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr.
“Finally, some good coaching, I know.”— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) September 22, 2019
- Alain Vigneault pic.twitter.com/Ok0ueV85a7
During the opening period, the Flyers scored two goals in a 1:32 span, half their total of goals through the first three preseason games.
Let's get into observations:
• Travis Konecny was flying all over the ice in his preseason debut. He was active and a constant threat. He had been adamant about how missing the first three days of training camp wouldn't impact his readiness for the regular season.
Konecny made a point Saturday — he looked really good.
• Playing his third game, Joel Farabee had big-time scoring chances during the second period. He tried patiently holding the puck and sort of second-guessed his move on the first. He then couldn't convert on a 2-on-0 late in the frame. When he skated to the bench, he showed his frustration. The 19-year-old might be pressing a tad.
In his second game, Morgan Frost showed his skill with the puck but couldn't crack the score sheet, either. Both continued to do positive things but somewhat blended in as the veterans stole the spotlight.
Production gets you noticed and the Flyers' two top prospects have yet to put up points. The Flyers need bottom-six depth. The Nolan Patrick and Tyler Pitlick injuries could impact the kids' chances, as well.
We'll have to see how many more games Farabee and Frost get to open eyes.
• Kevin Hayes once again showed why his size can be so disruptive. He planted himself in front and Jakub Voracek, with great vision, couldn't miss the 6-foot-5 center for a 2-0 lead.
Hayes has a goal and an assist through two preseason games. Both points were products of Hayes' strategy with his size. He makes the Flyers tougher to play against.
• Speaking of Voracek, he was dominant. He finished with two assists and a goal. His vision alongside Hayes' size could be a productive combo.
• Carter Hart has stopped all 25 shots he's faced through three-plus periods of preseason action. He looks ready to go. He'll play a full game before the Oct. 4 opener.
• The Flyers entered Saturday without a power play goal through three preseason games. On the team's first man advantage opportunity of the game, it cashed in as Claude Giroux found James van Riemsdyk right in front for a 1-0 lead.
🚨 JVR with a PPG! 🚨 pic.twitter.com/AZp80r9hyH— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) September 21, 2019
The Flyers finished with two power play goals.
Here's a thought: JVR on the top line with Giroux and Sean Couturier to start the season. There's just so much chemistry between Giroux and van Riemsdyk. We saw it last season when it sparked van Riemsdyk over a prolific stretch.
Just a thought.
• Carsen Twarynski, an under-the-radar bottom-six candidate, scored during the second period behind some excellent effort. He played a puck to himself along the boards and then tapped home his own rebound to make it 3-0.
If he's back with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, a fast start to his second season will help his chances at a potential call up to the big club. In 2018-19, he had one goal and four points through his first 20 games with the Phantoms.
• Chris Stewart dropped the gloves for his second fight of the preseason just 1:27 into the game. He also put the Rangers on the power play in the first period when he was whistled for interference. Not sure he helped his case for the roster, although he did have an assist.
• Matt Niskanen and Ivan Provorov weren't paired together but both played well. Niskanen looked a lot more comfortable and broke up scoring chances. Provorov was impressive in all areas, including the power play as the point man.
• The Flyers are expected to practice Sunday in Voorhees, New Jersey, before heading to Boston to play the Bruins Monday in their fifth preseason game (7 p.m./NBCSP+).
The team has three exhibition games remaining. It flies out to Switzerland on Sept. 27 before its final preseason contest on Sept. 30.
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