• June 25, 2022

Leighton Injured in Flyers Third Preseason Game

The Flyers exacted vengeance against the Toronto Maple Leafs last night in their third exhibition game of the preseason, assuming we all pretend that the overtime goal scored by Leafs sniper Phil Kessel was waived off for good reasons. The win came with a loss, though; starting goaltender Michael Leighton injured his lower back at some point during the game, playing all three periods and the overtime period before goaltender Brian Boucher came in “cold” for the shoot-out. The Flyers have gone to shootouts in all three preseason games thus far, suggesting that they were very happy with the way that the regular season ended and decided to keep the trend alive. According to CSN, general manager Paul Holmgren is “cautiously optimistic” with regards to Leighton’s injury, but let’s be honest; if there isn’t a goalie controversy, then would we really be the Philadelphia Flyers?

Leighton played much like he did in the first preseason game. That is to say, he was solid at times and frustrating at others. The first two goals for Toronto came within a minute of each other and both were similar, in that Leighton got caught farther out of the net then he should have been and was unable to close the gap between himself and the right side of the post. They weren’t terrible goals, but for the Flyers to reward him the starting position out of a feeling of loyalty based on the way he played last season, he will need to play better.

As far as the rest of the team goes, forward Nikolai Zherdev illustrated why he was signed with two goals, each assisted by Claude Giroux. I am curious if these two will continue to play together during the preseason, as a Giroux-Richards-Zherdev line could be dangerous. Dan Carcillo, who is fighting for a roster spot, had a decent, if not quiet, game. He fought with Leafs forward Mike Brown after drilling defenseman Carl Gunnarssson and drew a powerplay out of it, which was the only time he went to the penalty box. All in all, he had a number of chances in the second period that he will need to finish if he’s going to stand out to the Flyers brass.

Prospects Mike Testwuide and David Laliberte were given spots on the top two lines, but didn’t particularly impress me as much as prospect Eric Wellwood. Wellwood played on a line with Carcillo and Darroll Powe, and looked solid enough in his preseason debut that he will likely get to start in a few more games as the Flyers assess their talent pool. On defense, Oskars Bartulis and Andrej Meszaros had sloppy games. Meszaros has a roster spot penciled in already, but Bartulis is fighting for a seventh defenseman position. He had a tripping penalty that led to the first Toronto goal and was on sliding into the boards when the second goal was hammered in.  At this point, Bartulis has to hope that the fact that he is the only player on the team who can interpret for Zherdev is enough to win himself a spot.

The Flyers will travel to Minnesota tonight to face the Wild in their fourth preseason game. If you haven’t had the opportunity, “google” Claude Giroux’s shootout goal from last night and get excited about this season.

Claude Giroux Shootout Goal

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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