Flyers

Alain Vigneault isn't going to surprise himself with Joel Farabee decision — and that's a good thing

Alain Vigneault isn't going to surprise himself with Joel Farabee decision — and that's a good thing

NEW YORK — Remember when Alain Vigneault asked for surprises at the beginning of training camp?

Well, the head coach isn't about to surprise himself.

The 19-year-old Joel Farabee more than played the part of an NHL player Thursday night at Madison Square Garden in the Flyers' 2-1 exhibition loss to the Rangers (see observations).

The Flyers fly to Switzerland Friday night and open the 2019-20 regular season next Friday against the Blackhawks in Prague, Czech Republic.

If he's not in the lineup that first game," Vigneault said of Farabee, "it would be a surprise.

He's played extremely well. In my mind, if we would start tomorrow, he would probably be in our lineup.

Farabee has shown everything in his arsenal except actually putting the puck in the net. But, yeah, suffice it to say the Flyers know the 2018 first-round pick can score. He did so prolifically with the U.S. national team development program and then in one year at Boston University.

"Kid's got a lot of upside, got a lot of potential," Vigneault said. "He's a little bit snakebitten."

Aside from being snakebitten on the score sheet, Farabee has exhibited why he's been such a quick riser at every stage. He can scale a lineup as he fit in with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, and supplemented Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl in a third-line role Thursday night. Laughton, Raffl and Farabee combined for nine shots, with the teenage prospect leading the team overall at five.

What coaches love, though, is Farabee's max effort, which augments his versatility. During the second period against the Rangers, Farabee was knocked on his butt in the slot with a blindside hit. He bounced right back up and immediately looked ready to deflect any shot that was going to come his way.

"Kid's smart and a really good player," Laughton said. "I enjoyed playing with him tonight."

Laughton very well may see him on his wing next Friday.

The Flyers have one more preseason game remaining — next Monday overseas.

Farabee, of course, will be on the trip.

Does he feel like he's done enough to win a spot?

"That's tough to say," Farabee said modestly. "I think that's a question for a couple of other guys, not me."

On Thursday night at the world's most famous arena, it sure sounded like Vigneault had his answer.

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Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19

Flyers brought back to earth by Coyotes, suffer a first since Oct. 19

BOX SCORE

Despite putting up 21 goals over their five-game winning streak, the Flyers had a propensity to score them in bunches when an opponent started derailing.

On Thursday night, the Flyers never got going and were pulled back to earth in a 3-1 loss to the Coyotes at the Wells Fargo Center.

Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper was the biggest difference. The 6-foot-5 netminder who brought an NHL-best 1.97 goals-against average and .936 save percentage to Philly stopped 28 shots.

With 4:43 left, Matt Niskanen scored the Flyers' lone goal and it ricocheted off a Coyote. Arizona iced the game with an empty-netter.

The Flyers (16-8-5) suffered just their second regulation loss at home (9-2-4). The last time they failed to pick up a point at home was Oct. 19 when they lost to the Stars, 4-1.

Thursday night's defeat halted the Flyers' winning streak at five games and their point streak at seven. The Flyers had earned at least a point in 19 of their previous 23 games.

The Coyotes (17-9-4), who were allowing the NHL's second-fewest goals per game at 2.31, improved to 10-3-3 on the road.

• The Flyers went on two power plays in the final six minutes of the second period but could not solve Kuemper.

During those two man advantage opportunities, the Flyers put five shots on Kuemper and also misfired three times.

James van Riemsdyk found Morgan Frost with a slick backhanded pass from behind the net but the 20-year-old missed wide.

• Speaking of Frost, he had a tough game. The rookie had a turnover and some difficulty making plays.

He has gone scoreless over his last seven games following his loud start in which he scored three points in his first two games.

Maybe head coach Alain Vigneault takes him off the first line to relieve some pressure.

• Vigneault opted to play seven defensemen instead of slotting call-up Mikhail Vorobyev in at fourth-line center.

It's not a bad approach when you have seven healthy blueliners playing well. It also could mean the Flyers aren't ready to trust Vorobyev on the fourth line again.

The Senators game on Saturday looks like a better matchup for Vorobyev, who is in his fifth stint with the club since the start of last season.

• Brian Elliott hadn't lost in regulation since Oct. 29. The Flyers' backup goalie finished with 15 saves.

He allowed a first-period power play goal to Phil Kessel after Claude Giroux was whistled for a ticky-tacky slashing penalty. He then yielded a backbreaking third-period goal to Conor Garland with 7:03 left in the game.

The goalie was not the problem, though.

• The Flyers wrap up their three-game homestand Saturday when they welcome the Senators (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Next week, the team opens a three-game road trip, which features matchups with the Avalanche on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN), the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Jets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

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'Tis the season for ... Jawnaments? Jawnaments!

'Tis the season for ... Jawnaments? Jawnaments!

If you live in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, it's safe to say there's at least one ornament on your tree representing the city — whether it be a memento from a previous championship Philly has seen, famous landmarks or even the skyline, you're repping one way or another.

Throw everything you thought you knew about Philly ornaments out the window and make way for Jawnaments ... yes, you read that correctly.

Jawnaments. I swear, there is no place like Philadelphia.

Jawnaments is an Etsy shop that has been around since 2017 but they recently released a ton of non-traditional Philadelphia-inspired ornaments. And they're a thing of beauty.

Can you only function throughout the week because of the daily coffee you grab at Wawa and want to highlight that on your tree this year? They've got you covered.

Haven't received a parking ticket in the city in a while and just miss the stress and anxiety they bring with them? Yup, they've got that covered too.

The Tastykake Krimpet and Kandy Kake ornaments look good enough to eat ... even a classic soft pretzel with yellow mustard is an option.

And since Gritty is just about everywhere in the world ... it he. On an ornament. Oh sorry, *Jawnament.

Trust me, there are a ton of other options but you're just going to have to check out the full shop to see the beauty of it all.

You might even have to get a mini tree that's dedicated to the city you know and love. Heck, keep it up all year!

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