The first week of preseason continues with the first game of a back-to-back set. And it’s in Allentown, home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (2-0-0) at the Philadelphia Flyers (1-2-0; SBN Blog: Broad Street Hockey) in Allentown, PA.
The Time: 7:00 PM EST
The Broadcast: TV - MSG+ will be rebroadcasting the Flyers’ coverage. So prepare for Flyers announcers, Flyers-specific coverage, Flyers graphics, etc. It’s better than no broadcast at all. Thanks to Andrew Gross for Tweeting this last night.
The Last Devils Games: Well, the Devils put out a mix of NHLers and AHLers against a Flyers squad of mostly AHLers and prospects. On paper, the Devils had the better lineup. On the ice, the Devils played like it as they controlled much of their game in Newark on Monday night. The only major downside in New Jersey’s performance was that they took eight penalties and handed the Flyers seven power plays. That said, the good guys killed all of those situations, Nick Lappin piled in a rebound and an empty net goal, and the Devils won decisively, 2-0. My recap of the win is here.
While the Devils were beating Philadelphia, another squad of Devils were up in Montreal. It was a split-squad game for the Devils. They got bodied by Montreal’s top line but did not concede a goal to them. In general, the Canadiens put up a deluge of shots on both Scott Wedgewood and MacKenzie Blackwood. However, the Devils struck for goals on two power plays; both scored by Adam Henrique. Michael McLeod banged in a feed from Joseph Blandisi for a go-ahead goal in the third. It would hold up as the game winner for a 3-2 final score. My summary of that win is here.
The Last Flyers Game: Believe it or not, the Flyers played last night. They had two games with split-squads on Monday, like the Devils. Unlike the Devils, they didn’t score any goals in either of them. However, a stronger, more NHL-like lineup took the ice in Philadelphia to play the Islanders. They did score goals in that one. Dale Wiese lit the lamp first and Wayne Simmonds converted a power play not long after to make 2-0 by the first intermission. The Flyers kept going from strength to strength. Andy Miele made it 3-0 past the halfway mark of the second period. Simmonds made it a brace with an early PPG to start the third period. The Isles didn't really fight back much and so the Flyers finished the night with a 4-0 win.
That Flyers Squad...: So here’s a list of who dressed for Philly last night, based on NHL.com’s Roster Report of the game:
Forwards: Brayden Schenn, Michael Raffl, Wayne Simmonds, Jordan Weal, Scott Laughton, Dale Wiese, Matt Read, Boyd Gordon, Andy Miele, Nick Cousins, Roman Lyubimov, Chris VandeVelde
Defensemen: Michael Del Zotto, Andrew MacDonald, Nick Schultz, Travis Sanheim, Philippe Meyers, Ivan Provorov
Goalies: Steve Mason, Anthony Stolarz
It was definitely a stronger roster on paper than either of the squads they put out on Monday. Unless I’m mistaken, Laughton, Miele, Sanheim, Meyers, and Provorov (who played a lot on Monday) all played in New Jersey. I would guess they’ll get a break tonight. I would also guess that most of these players will get a break rather than push them to play a second straight game. I also suspect that some of the players that would suit up for Philadelphia tonight may be playing their last in camp before being cut. The Flyers have two days off after this game and they’ve already cut eight players from camp, according to this post by Travis Hughes at Broad Street Hockey. Given that the game will be in the home stadium of the team’s minor league affiliate, I’d expect plenty of Lehigh Valley-bound players to play in this game. Of course, I could be wrong.
The Devils Squad...is Not Known Until Later Today: The Devils had the day off today. Andrew Gross Tweeted that the team will announce their roster this morning. With the Devils playing the Rangers on Thursday, I would expect a roster set-up similar to what they did on Monday. One group will go to Pennsylvania for a game and whoever does not will likely play in Manhattan on the next night.
What is known is that both Cory Schneider and Kyle Palmieri won’t play in this game or the next one. Gross reported that on Monday at Fire & Ice. With Reid Boucher missing Monday’s with a hip flexor injury, I doubt he’ll appear either.
The Goal: Results don’t matter nearly as much as performances in preseason. In general, I would like the Devils to play a far more disciplined game than they did on Monday. In Montreal, the team had five penalty kills. In Newark, the team had seven. I can’t speak to the calls in Montreal, but from what I saw in Newark, they were all easy decisions for the referees. The Devils were just too aggressive at times and fouled a Flyer in plain sight. Therefore, I would like the Devils to be smarter with their sticks and their decisions with said sticks.
Your Take: This is the first of a back-to-back set, the only one in preseason this year. So Devin will be providing a preview of Thursday's game. I'll take care of the recaps for both. Please feel free to discuss the potential lineups - and what actually is announced - in the comments. Thank you for reading.