• May 27, 2022

Flyers Beat Devils in First Preseason Game

I’ll preface this and all preseason discussions by first acknowledging that this is just, in fact, the preseason.  The line-ups are far from finalized, the systems need to be reinforced and the outcomes are largely irrelevant.  That said, here are my initial impressions of your 2010 Philadelphia Flyers after their 4-3 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils.

  • Jeff Carter and Mike Richards will be, for the time being, switching between center and wing on the top line. Carter looked on top of his game, scoring the second goal of the game during a 4-on-4.   Richards had been categorized by some in the media as looking out of shape or unconditioned from the offseason, but his play during the game suggested that the workhorse Captain is ready to go. New winger Nikolai Zherdev was very impressive in his debut with these potential linemates.
  • Danny Briere and James VanRiemsdyk formed the second line with tryout Bill Guerin.  Briere notched a signature goal in the third period against Devils goaltending prospect Mike McKenna. JVR’s improved speed and stature were noticeable, even though he was held without points during the game. Guerin was also much faster than I expected for a 39 year old, keeping the offensive attack alive towards the ends of the second and third periods. Guerin’s versatility between lines will be clutch as the season progresses if he is signed.
  • Darroll Powe, Claude Giroux, and Andreas Nodl were lumped together for the third line. Powe combined forces with Giroux for the first goal of the game, which is key if Powe is to prove to management that he deserves a spot on the roster.  While Powe may have seemed like a poor choice of a linemate for Giroux, the two have trained together in the offseason for the last two years with trainer Tony Greco.  Nodl continued to look adequate, but barring injuries will not see much time this season.
  • On the fourth line, veteran Ian Laperriere and prospect Ben Holmstrom were fairly invisible, but enforcer Jody Shelley looked like a liability. Shelley was unimpressive for most of the game and started a fight with Devils enforcer Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond for no apparent reason in the third period. Not only did he give the Devils another powerplay, but for a hulking goon that is supposed to strike fear in his opponents, he lost his fight to a twenty-five year old punk. I understand that Shelley is a great guy and has a lot of character, but it’s frustrating to think that he may push someone else off the roster for the next three years with these antics.
  • Speaking of fight losses, defenseman Matt Walker also fought Leblond and lost. Walker is one of the defensemen fighting for a spot on the roster. I’m not sure if his fight was to impress the organization or if he legitimately thought it was a good idea, but defensemen should rarely fight in the NHL.  Losing a forward like Shelley won’t hurt the team but losing one of your six defensemen for five minutes will.

  • Michael Leighton started the first two periods in net. He had a number of great saves (including one that was stolen from the Boucher playbook), but he also let in one manageable goal and one terrible goal. To be fair, the defense didn’t look particularly great, but he will need to keep from dropping to the butterfly as quickly as he did today.
  • Goaltending prospect Sergei Bobrovsky, on the other hand, looked excellent during the third period, overtime period, and shootout. While he only saw six shots in the third period, he had a few great saves, including a 1-on-1 with 2:10 remaining in the third.  In the shootout, Bobrovsky stopped Captain Jamie Langenbrunner and veteran Patrik Elias before letting one in from offseason acquisition Jason Arnott. Bobby held out for the win with shootout support from Giroux and Richards.

The Flyers will play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario.  I’d like to thank the Bayou in Manayunk for putting the game on when the NHL Network decided to blackout my coverage of the game from home and other bars in the area smugly told me, “Why would we put preseason hockey on when the Phillies are on?”

Josh Janet

Josh Janet was raised in Northern New Jersey, but by an odd set of circumstances, is a Philadelphia sports fan. While recently converted to the Phillies, Josh is a diehard Flyers fan and can be expected to stay on top of the latest NHL news.

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  • Happy to see Zherdev looking good. Also like that Reimer put on so much muscle to go with his speed. This is looking like it’s going to be his breakout year. I’ve seen some comments by new and old players on CSN that Giroux’s looking incredible. Can’t wait for this season to start.

  • i didnt see the game but have read other reports saying shelly performed well and his fight was a really a no decision fight. and how you talk about walker fighting being a bad idea.i don’t agree.

    when a team has a full lineup 6 dman do not play a steady rotation so a 5 minute penalty may only have a 6th dman missing 1 shift when you have players like pronger and timonnen who play large minutes. picking your spots for fights is a must, fighting in preseason will start intimidating teams, this is not a bad idea, make your own building dificult to play in no matter what part of the season it is…if exhibition season is a form of practice, than the old saying “practice how you would play a game” means something. i think this is what the shelly’s and walkers do. if they are not playing like this then there is no spot in the league for them. i look forward to teams coming into philly and feeling uncomfortable. team toughness speaks volumes and i think the flyers have it. before you knock these guys try to understand these type of guys roles.

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