Flyers

From Jakub Voracek to Alain Vigneault, Joel Farabee turning heads (and ankles) at Flyers training camp

From Jakub Voracek to Alain Vigneault, Joel Farabee turning heads (and ankles) at Flyers training camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — Kurtis Gabriel was sitting between Jakub Voracek and Joel Farabee in the Flyers' dressing room at Skate Zone.

Voracek is entering his 12th NHL season. He was a 2015 All-Star and owns the league's ninth-most assists in the past five years.

As Farabee removed his gear, Voracek glanced over at Gabriel and smiled.

"Guy broke my ankles," Voracek said of the 19-year-old Farabee.

The kid is turning heads … and ankles.

During a drill Saturday, Farabee had the puck along the boards with Voracek in pursuit. Farabee made a quick jolt to his right, then jetted left. Voracek jumped back, biting on the fake before recovering.

"I was thinking I could catch up to him, right?" Voracek said with a laugh.

"It's not easy for us 30-year-olds, especially in the second day of training camp. I'm sure I'll get him one time."

Suffice it to say, Farabee is getting noticed. For those fueling his roster case, you couldn't have asked for a better start. With Travis Konecny's absence, general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr placed Farabee on a line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier to open camp.

Just how seamlessly is the young winger clicking with the team's big boys?

"Today, for me, obviously this is just practice," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said, "but he showed that he belonged there.

"He was making some plays, he was working hard at both ends of the ice, it was fun to see. If you're him, playing with two pretty good players, it's a great opportunity and we'll see what happens moving forward."

The natural chemistry between Giroux, Couturier and Farabee has been eye-catching through two days of camp. The 2018 first-round pick knows how to find open gaps, play off their abilities — and he just works, works and works.

Below is a sustained possession that was all possible because of Farabee's relentless pursuit of the puck. Coaches watched it on the ice and front office officials saw it from the balcony above.

"When I play my worst games, it's when I'm not really hard on pucks, when I'm not forechecking," Farabee said. "I've learned over the years, when I play my best, it's when I'm all over guys, just forechecking. When I do that, I play my best. That's just what I'm trying to do right now."

Prior to the announcement of Nolan Patrick's injury and Konecny's hiatus from camp, Farabee was already in position to push for a vacancy on the Flyers' third line. Suddenly, the Flyers could be looking for more depth within their group of forwards.

"We've got some decisions to make," Vigneault said. "That's what you want in camp. You need surprises, 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.

"There's no doubt that Coots, Giroux and Farabee were dominant in the little 5-on-5 competitions that we had, whether it be on the forecheck or whether it be in the offensive zone play."

What did Voracek see?

"Smart player, it's not always easy to jump into a line with Coots and G and understand right away what they want from you," he said. "It looks like he does understand what they want — it's really hard to do. He's doing a great job so far.

"It's been two practices, it's hard to judge it because we haven't played games yet. Trust me, the games are different than the practices."

Starting Monday, the Flyers have four preseason games in six days.

Keep an eye on the ankles.

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Yikes! Flyers choke away 3-0 third-period lead for shootout loss to Islanders

Yikes! Flyers choke away 3-0 third-period lead for shootout loss to Islanders

BOX SCORE

The Flyers choked away a 3-0 third-period lead Saturday night en route to a crushing 4-3 shootout loss at the hands of the Islanders.

The aftermath: an ugly and lost weekend.

Returning home to the Wells Fargo Center, head coach Alain Vigneault's team was in prime position to secure a noteworthy win following a befuddling letdown in Ottawa the night prior.

The Flyers wilted, though, in the final stanza, wasting away an opportunity for a quality win within the division. The Flyers (10-6-4) have lost three straight and gone to the shootout seven times this season because of blown leads and an inability to finish games.

After scoring two goals over their last two games, both losses, the Flyers were able to put up three on New York through two periods. The Islanders entered allowing the NHL's fewest goals per game at 2.29.

If only the Flyers kept their foot on the gas.

Give credit to the Islanders (14-3-1) for storming back and extending their point streak to 14 games (13-0-1). They took advantage of a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty in the third period and completely had the Flyers on their heels.

• The Flyers are at the 20-game mark and this was not how they wanted to reach it. While they look different this season, they are still maddeningly inconsistent at times.

Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes went scoreless against New York.

It's a good thing when others are producing, but the Flyers will need to get their big boys going with the others. It hasn't happened yet and the team's record reflects it.

• Brian Elliott came in and out of his crease quite often Saturday night. He had a weird game as he made some timely saves but fell flat in the third period.

That's when they really needed him.

• Oskar Lindblom has arguably been the Flyers' best forward 20 games into the year. The 23-year-old plays on both special teams units and has nine goals and seven assists.

Other NHL players with nine goals so far: Sebastian Aho, Filip Forsberg and Artemi Panarin.

Lindblom had a two-point effort Saturday, marking his third multi-point game of the season after having four all of last season.

He has run away with the opportunity given to him by Vigneault and company.

• The new line of Lindblom, Joel Farabee and Sean Couturier features plenty of intrigue.

The group opened the game's scoring just 1:38 into the action when Lindblom found Couturier, who had a two-point performance himself. The Flyers were 12-5-2 when Couturier had a multi-point game last season.

Lindblom, Couturier and Farabee combined for five points. It still wasn't enough, which is troubling.

• Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere have been flip-flopping on the first and second power play units. Provorov was moved off the first group in Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Senators.

"Provy started off, he had three turnovers in the first 10 minutes, made a switch," Vigneault said before Saturday night's game. "Ghost seemed to me that he was playing a little bit better. If you want to play, you’ve got to make the plays."

Provorov made one on the man advantage Saturday to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the opening frame. He has four goals and nine assists in 20 games. Last season, he had four goals and eight assists through 40 games. The addition of Matt Niskanen has been huge for the 22-year-old defenseman.

• A little over two hours before puck drop, Vigneault said the Flyers had lineup decisions to make regarding some players nursing minor injuries.

The club's full roster took warmups. Afterward, Philippe Myers and Carsen Twarynski were the scratches as Robert Hagg and Chris Stewart played in their spots.

It's uncertain why the Flyers went that route. Vigneault said postgame that both Myers and Twarynski were healthy.

Myers will be back in the lineup. The 22-year-old defenseman has been great with three goals, an assist and a plus-7 mark in eight games since being called up from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

Twarynski, a 21-year-old forward, is in a more precarious spot with Scott Laughton (broken finger) nearing his return from long-term injured reserve. Laughton could be back as soon as next Saturday's game against the Flames.

• The Flyers rocked military appreciation jerseys during warmups.

• The Flyers are off Sunday and practice Monday at 11:30 a.m. in Voorhees, New Jersey, before traveling to Florida for a matchup Tuesday with Joel Quenneville's Panthers (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

 

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Flyers vs. Islanders: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Islanders: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers are hoping some home cooking can serve as the remedy for their sudden scoring troubles.

Sparking the offense will not come easily Saturday when the Flyers (10-6-3) host the Islanders (13-3-1).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers' goal-scoring difficulty crept up rather quietly because the team was playing well, beating quality clubs and on a seven-game point streak.

The issue became much more recognizable when the point streak was halted Friday night by a 2-1 loss to the Senators (see observations).

After scoring 3.27 goals per game over their first 15 games, the Flyers have put up just 1.50 in their past four. They've lost two straight games, scoring only one goal in each outing.

• Why won't it get any easier?

Because Barry Trotz and the Islanders are in town. New York is on a 13-game point streak (12-0-1) and allowing just two goals per game during that stretch. Overall, the Islanders surrender the NHL's fewest goals per game at 2.29.

However, New York has played only five road games — the fewest in the NHL — compared to 12 home games. The Flyers have earned at least a point in eight of nine home games (6-1-2) and are scoring 3.67 goals per game at home.

• Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss, who is 7-1-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .942 save percentage, doesn't have great career numbers against the Flyers: 6-4-2, 3.35 GAA, .897 save percentage.

• Playing a back-to-back set, the Flyers did not skate this morning, so it's uncertain how the lineup will look exactly.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Joel Farabee-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Kevin Hayes-Carsen Twarynski
Andy Andreoff-Michael Raffl-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

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