A team shouldn't need a wake-up call before the puck drops in the regular season.
It looks like the Flyers got a decent one in Switzerland.
In the preseason finale Monday, Alain Vigneault's team slumbered into a 4-0 hole and lost, 4-3, to Lausanne HC of the National League at Vaudoise Arena.
The Flyers lost six of their seven exhibition games. They looked much better from Games 4-6 before Monday happened.
"This is my 16th or 17th full season, I don't remember one of my preseason records," Vigneault said with a smile on Sept. 21. "You do want, though, the good feeling of winning. I'll give you that one."
Is Monday's result truly worrisome? No, but it doesn't make it totally excusable, either, and you can bet Vigneault won't be happy with this type of final tune-up on a global stage.
Let's just say the game won't sit well with a portion of the fan base, which won't be lenient if another slow start ensues in 2019-20.
Here are observations from the preseason finale:
• A few things to consider:
The Flyers didn't come out like it was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. After all, the game felt more like a good cause than serious competition. The exhibition contest was part of the NHL Global Series and the event featured plenty of good vibes leading up to puck drop. Both teams posed for a picture afterward. The game was also played on an Olympic-sized rink, which is bigger and more spacious than NHL regulations.
The Flyers flew out to Switzerland on Friday at 10 p.m. The flight was around seven to eight hours long and the team practiced about two hours after landing.
So if the team was sluggish, lacking a regular season spirit and sort of going through the motions, it's not the end of the world.
If the effort bleeds into the regular season, then it's time to worry.
• Carter Hart was super sharp all preseason ... until now.
Coincidence? Probably. Hart didn't look anything like himself. Again, the rink is bigger and the 21-year-old just came off a long trip following a full game at Madison Square Garden.
After saving 56 of 57 shots through six-plus periods of exhibition action, he yielded two goals in half a period against Lausanne. Following Hart's fourth goal allowed, the Flyers turned to Brian Elliott early in the second period. The 34-year-old was good and kept things from completely unraveling.
• The early travel is no joke for the Flyers. Four of their first five games are in Prague, Czech Republic, Vancouver, British Columbia, Calgary, Alberta and Edmonton, Alberta.
• The goals for the Flyers came from Claude Giroux, Connor Bunnaman and Sean Couturier. The team eventually turned it up and dominated the third period but it was too late ... sound familiar?
Fortunately for the Flyers, they avoided an injury to Travis Konecny, who was tripped up and went flying into the boards on the Giroux marker.
That would have made this the nightmare trip to Switzerland.
• Monday's lineup is what we can probably expect for the season opener, other than eight defensemen playing in the game.
Here's an early prediction for Friday:
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Kevin Hayes-Jakub Voracek
Joel Farabee-Scott Laughton-Oskar Lindblom
Carsen Twarynski-Connor Bunnaman-Michael Raffl
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Matt Niskanen-Philippe Myers
• There was an impressive crowd on hand.
(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)
Gritty has become one with the standing room/supporters section pic.twitter.com/iNe4iVLkib— Adam Kimelman (@NHLAdamK) September 30, 2019
Former Flyer and native of Switzerland Mark Streit was behind the Flyers' bench for the game.
• The Flyers open the regular season Friday against the Blackhawks in Prague, Czech Republic (2 p.m./NBCSP).
There won't be any excuses for not being ready.
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