Bill Meltzer: Flyers Preseason Game Day: 9/29/14 @ NYR, Devils-Flyers Wrap and More

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PRESEASON GAME 6: FLYERS @ RANGERS

Looking to improve on their 2-2-1 record in the preseason, the Philadelphia Flyers head to Madison Square Garden to play the New York Rangers on Monday night. Game time is 7:00 p.m. EDT. The game will be televised in the U.S. on NHL Network.

This is middle game of a stretch of three games in as many nights for the Flyers.

On Sunday night, the Flyers absorbed a 3-1 road loss to the New Jersey Devils that was not nearly as close as the final score would suggest.

The Flyers will hold a workout in Voorhees on Monday for the players who are not making the trip to Manhattan for the game. Head coach Craig Berube indicated before Sunday’s game that he is going to try to avoid playing players in back-to-back games when he can avoid it. Toward that end, the Flyers brought along numerous Phantoms players to comprise about half of the lineup in Newark.

********** FLYERS SHOW LITTLE ENERGY IN UGLY 3-1 PRESEASON LOSS IN NEW JERSEY

On Thursday, the Flyers ran roughshod over the New Jersey Devils en route to a 4-0 preseason win at the Wells Fargo Center that was even more lopsided than the final score suggested. On Sunday in Newark, the Devils turned the tables. The Devils’ 3-1 margin of victory — with a late empty net goal — was much narrower than the disparity in the game play.

Simply put, the Flyers failed to compete for two-plus periods. Many of the veteran regulars were among the biggest culprits. Energy and motivation were low, and the Flyers did a lot more standing around than skating. The result was a staggering 41-16 disparity in shots (35-7 through the first two periods) and a parade of Flyers to the penalty box on needless penalties.

The brightest spot for the Flyers on this night was veteran goaltender Rob Zepp. The longtime Eisbären Berlin netminder authored numerous 10-bell saves to keep the Flyers close when they had no business being in the game.

Veteran forward Scott Gomez scored two power play goals for New Jersey. The first came on a deflection of a Damien Brunner shot in the final half-minute of the opening period. He struck for his second tally at 3:02 of the second period, as Tuomo Ruutu beat defenseman Nick Schultz wide on the rush and there was no support on the other side as Ruutu fed the puck across to Gomez. Zepp had no chance on either goal.

The other primary bright spot for the Flyers was the play of Blair Jones. Head coach Craig Berube praised Jones as one of the few veterans who played well in this game and said he has been good day-in and day-out through camp. Jones, who generated five of the Flyers’ 16 shots on the night, finally got rewarded in the third period. He collected a New Jersey turnover and countered for a shorthanded scoring chance. Rookie Taylor Leier, who also had a decent night, stashed home the rebound to cut the Flyers’ deficit to 2-1 with 10:09 left in regulation.

Philly was unable to find the equalizer. Tough guy Zack Stortini had the best chance but was unable to pot a goal in a sequence that ended with Devils goalie Scott Clemmensen getting bowled over in the crease and the play blown dead for incidental contact before the puck crossed the goal line. Marek Zidlicky added an empty net goal in the final 45 seconds to seal the win for New Jersey.

After the game, Berube said that he was disappointed by the lack of skating and focus from his team (even by preseason standards). Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds agreed.

“There’s no dog days in the preseason,” said Simmonds. “We have to compete a lot better every night than we did tonight.”

This was the Flyers’ lineup in the game:

Matt Read – Sean Couturier – Wayne Simmonds

R.J. Umberger – Vincent Lecavalier – Jakub Voracek

Taylor Leier – Blair Jones – Brett Hextall

Marcel Noebels – Chris VandeVelde – Zack Stortini

Michael Del Zotto – Luke Schenn

Nicklas Grossmann – Nick Schultz

Robert Hägg – Jesper Pettersson

Rob Zepp

[Anthony Stolarz]

This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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