The Flyers kept the preseason momentum moving on Wednesday, as they easily dispatched the limited New York Islanders, 3-1, at the Wells Fargo Center to earn their first regulation exhibition victory.
The win improves Philadelphia’s preseason record to 4-1-2.
Jeff Carter scored twice in the first period and rookie Sergei Bobrovsky dazzled, playing all three periods and making 32 saves on 33 shots. Forwards Ville Leino and Blair Betts both saw their first action of the preseason since recovering from offseason surgery.
The Flyers continue the road to the regular season on Friday, when they host the Buffalo Sabres at 7 PM. The game can be seen on CSN.
Scott Hartnell — It’s been awhile since Scott Hartnell played with purpose. During much of last season, the 28-year-old was lost and barely noticeable during long stretches. However, this preseason, particularly against the Isles, Hartnell looked different. Posting an assist and a plus-2, Hartnell was back checking, skating hard and doing what many Philly fans thought he forgot how to do — work.
Sergei Bobrovsky — Once again, the 22-year-old netminder impressed. Except this time, he did it for a full 60 minutes. Bobrovsky made all the routine saves and even threw in the occasional stellar one, as he took home his first-ever regulation victory in North America. Bobrovsky’s concentration and quickness was on point all contest, as he challenged shooters and tossed aside or gobbled up rebounds. The young Russian made 32 saves, but none were bigger or more telling of his maturity than his breakaway stop midway through the third period, coming just minutes after the Islander’s first tally of the game.
James van Riemsdyk — JVR notched his first goal of the preseason at 9:36 of the first period with a beautiful high backhand shot from the high slot. This comes as a surprise since the second-year forward has been one of the Flyers’ most effective players in the preseason, despite not putting anything in the net. He had multiple chances to score late in the game as well, but was unable to solve Dwayne Roloson a second time. He finished with a team-high six shots on goal.
Jeff Carter — Chalk two more up for Mr. Carter. With back-to-back tallies in the first period, Carter matched Nik Zherdev with the team lead in preseason goals with four. And he’s done it effortlessly. Against the Isles, like he has done all season, Carter was extremely fast on the edges and has gone to the right spots in front of the net.
The Islanders’ Roster — The NHL has a preseason rule that a team must dress a certain number of veterans for any given exhibition game. But the league never said they had to be any good. New York played its “B” squad on Wednesday, with its most notable players being Jon Sim and Bruno Gervais. The game, which was originally scheduled for the NHL Network, was swapped out for another contest when the Isles’ roster was announced two days ago.
Braydon Coburn’s Chip — Maybe it was the contract year looming over his head last season, but this preseason, Coburn has looked more like the top-4 guy that helped the team get to the Stanley Cup Finals, than the one who was putting pucks in his own net in the regular season. When Coburn plays mean, he plays his best, and he’s been angry all preseason. One of the team’s most frequent hitters in exhibition time, one contact on Wednesday led to a scrap with 6-foot-4 forward Jesse Joensuu. Coburn blooded the 23-year-old with a series of uppercuts.