The Flyers couldn't get one back against the Islanders.
Alain Vigneault's team dropped consecutive preseason games to New York after losing, 3-2, in overtime Tuesday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Flyers never trailed until the Islanders' OT winner.
They have five exhibition games remaining. Big names like Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen have yet to dress for the Flyers.
Let's get into some observations:
• German Rubtsov came into the action as one of the most notable roster hopefuls on Tuesday night's game roster. He has played a lot. He competed in rookie camp, scored two goals in the prospects game, performed well in Monday night's preseason opener and was back in the lineup Tuesday.
The Flyers are challenging him.
"That's one of the reasons he's playing tonight," Vigneault said after morning skate. "There are some decisions to be made and some of the things we're going to do is put some players in a tougher spot to see how they react to it."
Rubtsov once again did some positive things. During the second period, he stripped the puck in a battle along the boards and rung the post, nearly giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead. However, he lost 10 faceoffs.
But he really showed himself when he raced out of the chute with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley last season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He's healthy, strong and is looking more and more like an NHL center.
• Michael Raffl opened the game's scoring with a first period goal on a deflection. He and Scott Laughton were the only forwards in the lineup that played regularly for the Flyers last season.
Raffl will be a quietly reliable guy for the Flyers in 2019-20. Expect to see him on the fourth line and the penalty kill. The 30-year-old played a career-low 11:25 per game in 2018-19 and his minutes should be in that ballpark this season. Those lesser minutes are important, though, when they come on the PK and against the opposition's better lines to give the Flyers' top-six guys a blow.
Tip drill. pic.twitter.com/xNCP9J3GY4— x-Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) September 17, 2019
• Carter Hart made his preseason debut and stopped all 14 shots he faced in 30 minutes.
He has been sharp in camp and the anticipation is there for his first full NHL season.
"For me, I'm here and I'm ready to play," Hart said last weekend. "I put in a lot of work this summer, on and off the ice. I added some muscle, added some durability and I feel really healthy in net, really strong."
Jean-Francois Berube allowed three goals in relief, including the OT winner, when he couldn't locate the puck after making the initial save.
• After a recent camp practice, Maksim Sushko spent a lot of time deflecting pucks at the net. He did about four or five rounds of redirecting shots.
The practice paid off as Sushko screened the goalie on a Chris Bigras goal in the third period. Sushko may have gotten a piece of it. Those role forwards understand that scoring chances will come from effort in limited minutes. Sushko is a 2017 fourth-round pick with speed and entering his first season with the Phantoms.
• Kurtis Gabriel got involved in the action. Flyers fans may recall the name. He's a big guy that likes to be physical and the former Devil is trying to get in the conversation for the Flyers' bottom six. Emotions boiled over between Gabriel and Ross Johnston during the second. In the third, captain Anders Lee laid a big hit on Gabriel, who was banged up and forced to leave momentarily.
Gabriel returned to the game for a short stint, but if anything lingers, it will obviously impact his roster chances with five exhibition games left.
• Bigras was signed on July 1 to a two-way deal. The 2012 second-round pick has 46 NHL games under his belt and enjoyed a career year in the AHL last season, scoring 22 points in 52 games. He had a nice game Tuesday night with two points and a plus-1 rating. The 24-year-old will be good for Lehigh Valley.
Nate Prosser, another defenseman, had an assist but was beat on the Islanders' second goal and was slow to react on New York's first goal. He played under general manager Chuck Fletcher from 2009 to 2018.
• Roster hopeful Andy Andreoff, who has shown a blend of toughness and skill in camp, was not very noticeable during his 15 minutes.
• The Flyers are off from practice Wednesday before welcoming the Bruins Thursday for the their third preseason game (7 p.m./NBCSP).
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