|The Philadelphia Flyers took over the PPL Center for NHL preseason hockey tonight. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey|
Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook
For the second straight year, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms' home rink - the PPL Center - hosted the Philadelphia Flyers in NHL preseason action. And for the second straight year, Travis Konecny stole the show.
Konecny and the Flyers really took over control of the game in the middle frame. with Konecny tallying a goal and an assist in the Flyers' 2-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. He was simply all over the ice tonight, knowing this was his chance to make his case that he's ready for full-time NHL work.
Michael Raffl tallied a goal for the Flyers as well, with Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon combining for an 18-save shutout.
Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol
On Stolarz's play:
I liked both of our guys tonight. Stolie did a good job and made a difference for sure in the first 10 minutes, he made two or three big saves there. And Alex came in half way through, which isn't an easy thing to do. He was ready to go and did what he needed to.On Corban Knight, former player of his at North Dakota:
I'm very familiar with his game and I think he's had a good camp. I think what you saw tonight is a good example. He's a good two-way player, does a good job in the face-off circle and competes hard. His line has been together quite a bit through camp and they played a strong game tonight.Anthony Stolarz
On getting off to a good start in the preseason games:
For sure, you always want to go out there and make a good impression. With training camp, guys are starting to get sent down so you want to make your last-second push. I know the situation with Nevirth and Mason up top, but I want to show them that I can play at this level and also continue to play well so when I get sent down I can continue to play well in Lehigh Valley.Robert Hagg
On how he felt on out there (his 2nd preseason game):
It's the preseason, the timing isn't really there but I think it got better and better during the game. I have some things to work on, absolutely and we will see what happens.On playing with Will O'Neill:
I didn't really play with him during camp or anything but he's a really good player. He talks a lot, which really helped out.On playing with 5 defensemen the second half of the game:
It's my 2nd game, and going down to five half way through the game you have to battle through it and I think all the guys helped us out back there. It was good.On picking up where he left off at the end of last season:
I'm trying to. We'll see. It's just my 2nd preseason game and I have a lot of things to work on but we'll see.RECAP
The Flyers and Devils played to a scoreless tie through 20 minutes, but there was plenty of excitement on the ice. Travis Konecny was very noticeable in the opening frame, his speed and skating very evident during his opening shifts.
The Flyers' best chance of the period came when Robert Hagg fed a stretch pass ahead to spring Michael Raffl and Konecny in 2-on-0 from the blue line. Unfortunately, Raffl's pass to Konecny didn't connect cleanly and the puck was pushed away easily by Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid.
Colin McDonald made his presence felt on one of his first shifts of the night, throwing his weight around on the forecheck and dropping the gloves with Devils' blue liner Seth Helgeson.
Anthony Stolarz got the start in net and had to come up with some big saves early as the Devils had some early chances. Stolarz and Kinkaid were the difference in the scoreless opening period, though Konecny was flying around and creating both excitement and chances for his team.
Konecny kept buzzing in the middle frame, and gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 4:30 into the period when he re-directed Andrew MacDonald's point shot past Kinkaid after Brayden Schenn won an offensive zone face-off.
The Konecny show continued on the next shift, as he missed an empty top-half of the net and rang one off the crossbar. It seemed like anytime number 63 was on the ice, good things were happening for the Flyers.
Michael Raffl extended the Flyers' lead to 2-0 midway through the period off a feed from Konecny, who was floating at the offensive zone blue line before finding Raffl open in the slot. Robert Hagg added a secondary assist on the play.
Stolarz had another strong preseason showing, stopping all 11 shots he faced before Alex Lyon came on in relief with 10:37 left in the middle period.
The Flyers really controlled play from that point on, maintaining their 2-0 lead through the third period - allowing just seven shots in the second half of the game.
3:20: PHI - McDonald, major (fighting)
3:20: NJD - Helgeson, major (fighting)
8:45: PHI - (PP) Goulbourne, minor (elbowing)
0:24: NJD - (PP) Blandisi, minor (interference)
4:30: PHI - Konecny (1) - MacDonald, Schenn
9:04: PHI - Raffl (1) - Konecny, Hagg
12:34: PHI - Alt, major (fighting)
12:34: NJD - Thomson, major (fighting)
5:29: PHI - (PP) bench minor, too many men (served by Aube-Kubel)
11:55: NJD - (PP) Rooney, minor (interference)
16:43: NJD - (PP) Thomson, minor (high-sticking)
Flyers Roster Notes
Anthony Stolarz got the start in net for the Flyers tonight, stopping all 11 shots he faced in 29:23 of work. Alex Lyon came on in relief of Stolarz, stopping seven shots in the remainder of the contest to complete the shutout.
The Philadelphia Flyers reduced their training camp roster by seven players, reassigning goaltenders Mark Dekanich and Martin Ouellette, defensemen Max Lamarche and Jesper Pettersson and forwards Chris McCarthy, Kevin Sundher and Steven Swavely to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL). Only Pettersson is on an NHL contract, the other six are on AHL-only deals for the 2016-17 season.
Mark Alt appeared to have been injured in his 2nd period fight with Ben Thomson. He didn't return to the game after that point.
Michael Raffl - Brayden Schenn - Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier - Corban Knight - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Tyrell Goulbourne - Boyd Gordon - Chris Conner
Chris VandeVelde - Radel Fazleev - Colin McDonald
Andrew MacDonald - Brandon Manning
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Will O'Neill - Robert Hagg
Anthony Stolarz - Alex Lyon