Flyers

Golden Knights 1, Flyers 0: Flyers denied by spectacular Marc-Andre Fleury

Golden Knights 1, Flyers 0: Flyers denied by spectacular Marc-Andre Fleury

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The last time the Flyers took the Wells Fargo Center ice, they were booed off of it during a catastrophic home opener.

They were a much a different team Saturday but the end result was the same. This time, it was a 1-0 defeat to the Golden Knights on Saturday afternoon.

Cody Eakin scored with 1:25 left in regulation as Vegas handed the Flyers (2-3-0) their first shutout of the season.

In four lifetime matchups between the Flyers and Golden Knights, the road team has won all four.

Vegas (2-4-0) came in with the worst goal differential in the NHL at minus-9 but got some revenge from its 5-2 home-opening loss to the Flyers.

• This was the Flyers' best defensive game of the season. There were very little breakdowns, a stark contrast from the home opener in which the Flyers lost, 8-2, and had Brian Elliott holding on for dear life.

The Flyers couldn't clear a loose puck late in the third and the Golden Knights turned it into the winner on a pretty cross-ice pass to Eakin.

The Flyers entered Saturday having allowed a league-most six power-play goals. Vegas went on the man advantage just three times and didn't score on any of them.

• Head coach Dave Hakstol called a timeout after the Golden Knights' goal. The Flyers then pulled Elliott but couldn't net the equalizer. They didn't generate as much in the third with only six shots, while Vegas capitalized on one play.

• The second period picked up significantly for the Flyers, who couldn't find a way to crack Marc-Andre Fleury. The Golden Knights' goalie made two highlight-reel stops within a minute-and-a-half span to keep the game scoreless late in the stanza.

The first came on Scott Laughton, who couldn't deke Fleury on a shorthanded breakaway before crashing into the boards and skating off hunched over.

Fleury then turned away Claude Giroux with a diving stop. The Flyers' captain patiently held on to the puck and attempted to curl around Fleury, but the goalie remarkably recovered (see video).

• The Flyers had their chances in the first, too. The best came around midway through the frame when a rebound trickled to Jordan Weal, but Fleury sprawled backward to deny his shot. Konecny had a chance to flush the rebound but missed top shelf.

• During the second period, Mikhail Vorobyev committed a bad giveaway when he tried to chip the puck with a backhanded pass. It went right to Tomas Nosek, who created a scoring chance but the Golden Knights couldn't convert.

• Elliott, who was hung out to dry in the home opener, was strong, saving 20 shots. He failed to make the big save at the end but the Golden Knights' precision on the play was impressive.

Unlike opening night against the Flyers when he was yanked after allowing five goals on 16 shots, Fleury was sensational this time around. He had a number of difficult stops and finished with 26 saves.

• With only 12 forwards right now, the Flyers needed Konecny, who left practice early Friday after taking a puck to the skate. He played and didn't look too limited. At times, he skated somewhat gingerly. He played 11:50 and had three hits.

• The Flyers' forwards are becoming the walking wounded. Laughton eventually returned to the bench early in the third period after his spill into the boards. Oskar Lindblom was also shaken up after taking a hard check during the third. The hit by Brayden McNabb was questionable.

• The Flyers are off Sunday then practice Monday before hosting the Panthers Tuesday at 7 p.m. on NBCSP. It's Jakub Voracek Chia Pet Giveaway Night (seriously).

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Alain Vigneault asked for something and has yet to get it in Flyers preseason

Alain Vigneault asked for something and has yet to get it in Flyers preseason

Alain Vigneault put out his hands as if he wanted a hug.

The head coach was speaking passionately about training camp competition.

He pleaded for one thing.

"You need surprises," Vigneault said last Saturday after Day 2 of Flyers training camp. "We need some of these young kids to step up and force us into some decisions. That's how your team gets better and we're going to give them an opportunity to do that."

Vigneault hasn't gotten any surprises … yet.

The Flyers could use them. They have a clear opening on their third line. They even have two when you factor in Nolan Patrick's injury. Tyler Pitlick, a projected bottom-six guy, is also hurt. Their defensive pairings are far from sacrosanct. 

Spots are everywhere.

But three exhibition games down, the Flyers have heard only knocks on the door.

Nobody has barged in.

"The battle for the bottom six is, in my mind, fully on," Vigneault said Thursday after morning skate. "It's good. We've got some decisions to make in those positions."

While Morgan Frost's preseason got off to a positive start in Thursday night's 3-1 loss (see observations), the 20-year-old playmaker failed to crack the score sheet playing between James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek.

Joel Farabee has impressed during camp and shown flashes in two games, but hasn't blown away the rest. Similar to Frost, Farabee played with high-end talent Thursday — Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier — and couldn't capitalize with production.

German Rubtsov looked a bit tired Thursday and justifiably so as he was playing his third game in four days. The 21-year-old center has done the little things well.

Mikhail Vorobyev, last year's preseason darling (six points in six games), has played not-so-glamorous minutes and on the penalty kill.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel had one of the better performances in the second preseason game but was quiet on the third line and second-unit power play Thursday.

Isaac Ratcliffe brought plenty of intrigue into camp but progression in the AHL will be first on his plate.

Connor Bunnaman has shown promise but seems destined for his second season with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, as does Carsen Twarynski.

The older roster hopefuls haven't crushed the kids, either. Andy Andreoff has been inconsistent through two games, Chris Stewart fought in the opener and Kurtis Gabriel is hurt.

The Flyers' four preseason goals have come from van Riemsdyk, Matt Niskanen, Michael Raffl and Chris Bigras.

The remaining preseason slate will be amplified, growing in importance and starting Saturday night against the Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center.

"One of the things I've found throughout the years is people say that we make the decisions, but we really don't make the decisions," Vigneault said Monday. "The players make the decisions for us by how they play, how they continue to improve.

"As camp moves forwards, competition is going to get better, it's going to get more demanding on everybody. They'll make the decisions for us by how they play, how they compete and how they perform."

Vigneault asked for surprises.

With four exhibition games left, who's going to give him one?

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Prospects get their shot, competition still up for grabs, more from Flyers' preseason loss to Bruins

Prospects get their shot, competition still up for grabs, more from Flyers' preseason loss to Bruins

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The Flyers are winless in the preseason through three games after losing to the Bruins, 3-1, Thursday night.

They haven't scored on the power play and have just four goals total. It's the preseason, though, so nothing to freak out about.

The Flyers have four exhibition games remaining.

Let's get into some observations from the third:

• Morgan Frost was denied a few times in front, including this absolute robbery by Jaroslav Halak.

Frost didn't put up numbers offensively but he showed his skill and was actually at his best on the forecheck. He played hard and didn't look out of place defensively, which is a major plus. The 20-year-old was a positive in his first preseason action.

• Joel Farabee had a so-so game. He created room in front of the net on Matt Niskanen's goal but didn't stand out. It would have been nice to see Farabee or Frost finish some scoring chances. Production will win you a job and on a night when those two prospects played with high-end NHL talent, they didn't produce. The two haven't hurt themselves, but the Flyers will want to see more.

• Claude Giroux looked like himself in his first preseason game. He slipped a pretty pass to Niskanen for the Flyers' only goal. One thing the 32-year-old defenseman provides is sneaky offensive ability, which the Flyers didn't get from their older blueliners last season. Niskanen can help Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov. 

• Speaking of defensemen, Justin Braun has been good. General manager Chuck Fletcher and head coach Alain Vigneault have praised his active stick and we've seen it consistently break up plays.

• The Bruins made a couple of sharp plays on both goals against Brian Elliott, who performed well with 22 saves in two periods of work.

Alex Lyon played the third frame and allowed a breakaway goal.

• The Flyers' third line of Andy Andreoff, German Rubtsov and Nicolas Aube-Kubel was important to watch because all three players are vying for a bottom-six spot. The group was quiet but Andreoff, who was hardly visible in Tuesday's loss, looked better. He was active, fast and opportunistic offensively, creating a chance for Frost early in the game.

Let's be honest, though, nobody has knocked the door down like Mikhail Vorobyev did last preseason, which makes the final four exhibition games that more important (see story).

• Another look at the monstrous scoreboard:

• The Flyers practice Friday in Voorhees, New Jersey, before welcoming the Rangers Saturday for their fourth exhibition game (7 p.m./NBCSP+).

Travis Konecny is expected to make his preseason debut (see story). Let's see if he can be a spark.

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