Recap: Hockey’s back! The kids are back! The kids are winning!

At long last!

It’s happening, friends! It is finally happening! Hockey is back! And we’re easing back into the season with a look at the Flyers’ future! And that’s pretty neat, right?

Is that a little cheesy for you? Okay, fine. We’ll scale it back. But the Flyers did kick things off with their annual rookie game against the Islanders last night, so we got to watch the kids. Which is still neat.

What’s that? Now that’s enough intro? You want to hear about the kids? Yeah, let’s talk about the kids.

The Flyers kicked things off losing the opening faceoff and letting the Islanders send the puck down the ice. It was intercepted by Mikhail Vorobyev who brought it back up ice on an odd man rush and made a nice little feed to Carsen Twarynski, wh couldn’t quite get the shot off. But we had nice bit pressure to start things off.

And we hit a bit of back and forth, here, a lot of time spent in the neutral zone, but no clear controller of possession, but still a continuous flow of activity. It took a while for us to even get our first whistle, but when we did, it was good news. It was a holding call on Tyler Mueler, and the Flyers were off to the power play!

And now it’ll be interesting to see how they get this power play rolli—oh, they’ve already scored. They already scored! All it took was nine seconds, a shot from Morgan Frost from the point, and then a deflection for Oskar Lindblom in front of the net.

And we’ve got more! Right off the next faceoff, Lindblom forced a turnover and got the puck to Twarynski, and it was a rush back into the offensive zone for the Flyers, a quick shot for Twarynski, and an early two goal lead for the Flyers.

From here momentum began to swing back in the Islanders’ favor, with two rushes started, beginning to look dangerous, and then promptly squashed by offside calls. So a bit of possession for the Isles, but no real activity for our pal Carter Hart. It’s been a quiet start for him. Not saying that we want him to have a lot of work to do. But we want to see him Do Things.

It took us until just inside six minutes into the first period for Hart to make his first save, nicely stopped with the blocker, and we can all exhale.

And, oh no, what have we done. We said we didn’t want him to have a ton of activity. The universe didn’t listen, and the Islanders got set up in the offensive zone and let Josh Ho-Sang get to work and start cycling the puck around. It was their best look of the game, to this point, and had them knocking on the door, but still just stopped.

Best look? Not for long. Moments later it was Jeff Kubiak shortly after the offensive zone faceoff with a laser, beating Hart low and cutting the Flyers’ lead in half. Whomp whomp.

But the Flyers would have the next chance, a shot from James de Haan from the point shuffled around the crease, was nearly tossed out, but Twarynski stopped it at the blue line (and took a hit for it), but gave Lindblom the chance to take another shot

That momentum, though, was shut down as Maxim Sushko took a holding penalty and sent the Isles to the power play. And it was ugly, friends. They got their cycle game going with force and the Flyers just couldn’t seem to claim any kind of control.

Things cooled off just enough, and Ratcliffe intercepted a pass and took a run into the Islanders’ zone for a shot with ten seconds remaining on the power play. No goal on said shot, but it burned a nice little bit of time, and the Flyers escaped without giving up a goal, still holding onto the lead.

And they would have a chance to extend their lead now! We didn’t have to wait too long! Getting back into the offensive zone, Twarynski took the puck into the corner and drew a hooking call from Noah Dobson. And back to the power play we go.

Frost won the opening faceoff and got things rolling, shuffling the puck around the zone as the Flyers worked to collapse in on the crease. We had another shot that fed in, popped up and rattled around a little bit but was stopped, and we got a bit of bonus mixing it up in front of the net. The next chance saw a bit more shuffling, a Vorobyev shot that sailed wide, allowing the Islanders to clear the zone and break up the Flyers’ momentum. This would be just about the end of the story on this power play attempt, as it would turn out. The Islanders’ penalty kill kept them frustrated, and they weren’t able to get anything else going on this try.

The Islanders took it back with the penalty expiring, zipping back into the Flyers’ zone. A shot for Dobson was stopped by Hart on the mask, but they weren’t done. Just after, a shot from Pius Suter beat Hart high glove, and the Islanders had evened things up.

Another chance for the Vorobyev line would, uh, be quickly reversed, as the Islanders took a rush into the zone, set up a shot for Dobson, and then… two thirds of the line went to the box. Now, I’m going to level with you guys. I have no idea what happened there. At first it looked like Twarynski was being called for something, and he went off. Then Vorobyev took a roughing call after the whistle, and he was sent off too. But Twarynski was released. No one said anything about it. Either way, it was just a regular power play for the Isles.

And in case you forgot which team you were watching here for a moment, it’s the Flyers. So you know what that means? That’s right, a power play goal allowed. After a nice bit of movement about the zone, it was Kieffer Bellows picking up the deflection goal on Hart, and the Islanders picked up their first lead of the night.

A bit more pressure for the Isles on the next shift turned into a stopped shot and a roughing call drawn by the Flyers. And, because our children love us and hate to leave us sad for too long, they scored inside ten seconds on the power play, this time coming in the form of a deflected one timer from Frost inside the left faceoff circle, and the game was tied again! And that’s just about all for the period! I’m exhausted already!

AFTER ONE: Flyers 3, Islanders 3

And we’re back! After taking a few moments to breath deeply and grab some snacks (this is what we all did, right?), the action was back.

Isles were getting back into the zone, and a shot by Otto Koivula rang off the post and gave Ratcliffe a chance to take things the other way, but he saw his play broken up before he could get the shot off. The Isles would take the puck back deep into the Flyers’ zone for a bit of shuffling in front of the net, where Hart had to make two very big saves before they could push the puck out of the zone. Are you getting the gist, here? Things are moving quickly, possession changing, and a lot of back and forth.

And now it’s not one side taking over, it’s one player! It’s Frost! He turned on the jets for a chance on the breakaway but his shot was stopped. It was stopped but not controlled, so mere seconds later he was able to get the puck back for another chance, again stopped. But, oh boy, was that exciting.

The absolute opposite of exciting was what happened next, when the Islanders drew a delayed hooking call from Wyatt Wylie, and just positively got to work. With the extra attacker out, they took control for more than a minute and the Flyers just could not seem to get to the puck. Mercifully, they would, but this just sent them to the penalty kill proper.

This go saw the Isles working to get some pressure going but Vorobyev had other ideas, chasing the puck around the center of the ice and frustrating their attempts to pass cleanly. This would more or less be the story of the rest of the power play—the Islanders just couldn’t seem to connect on their passes, and the rest of the time ticked by without any more real pressure. Which, you know, is a pretty big relief for us.

And it wasn’t too long before the tables were turned again, not too long at all. A Yannick Turcotte trip gave the Flyers their next chance on the power play and it this point it feels like we’re just sitting here talking about special teams, my goodness. Anyway, Matthew Strome took and lost the opening faceoff and the Isles promptly sent the puck down the length of the ice and left the Flyers to recollect. And recollect they did! A shot by Philippe Myers from the point went right in on net for Lindblom to deflect, and the Flyers were in the lead again.

And of my god it is still happening! The next shift saw a rush for the Flyers and… and… and… I’m too excited, just watch it for yourself:

So that’s a hat trick for our pal Oskar, and the two goal lead for the Flyers has been restored.

And now we’re doing more of that back and forth that we talked about before, and still not a whole lot of consequence. We’ve just ticked down below four minutes in the period and what I have to report to you that Mark Friedman just starfished (i.e. The Andrew MacDonald Special) to block a shot. Thanks for tuning in.

We may have jinxed things a little bit, as momentum swung distinctly back on one direction from here, and that direction was the Islanders’, as they hit a series of offensive zone draws and delivered a handful of shots to keep Hart busy. He took them in stride, and kept them out of the net, and gave us another chance to be in awe of him, just for a moment.

But the Islanders would soon have another chance, as Matthew Strome was sent off for hooking. We started with Koivula with a near chance, and the Flyers spared when his stick all but exploded, but the Islanders were able to keep it alive until the final seconds of the period, which saw the Flyers chip the puck into the neutral zone as the buzzer sound. Whew.

AFTER TWO: Flyers 5, Islanders 3

We’re back and we’ve got a change! The third period is upon us and Liam Hughes is in for Hart, getting a chance to take over for the third period. The Flyers are still on the penalty kill, so he’s going right into the fire. But his teammates are very considerate, and collected the puck and tied it up in the Islanders’ zone for a nice chunk of time, killing off precious power play seconds.

But, oh dear, that was short lived, it’s getting worse. With 18 seconds left on the Strome penalty, the Flyers took another, with Vorobyev going off for hooking, and gave the Islanders a chance on the two man advantage they only got one good shot off in that time and it was nicely handled by Hughes. They went, then, back to 5-on-4, and the Islanders were kept pretty quiet. They got some time in the offensive zone, but couldn’t get any major pressure going. They final attempts were broken up as time expired, and the Flyers had successfully killed another penalty (imagine that!).

And now it’s a lull, staying quiet outside of the fact that Myers sent a puck into the Flyers’ bench and hit a trainer (he was okay).

But we asked for a bit of activity, and ask and you shall receive, as they say. With the Flyers getting set up in the offensive zone and earning an offensive zone draw, they took that bit of momentum and ran with it. All it took was the puck to be chipped to Vorobyev at the perimeter and just absolutely lasered in on goal. That’s a 6-3 lead for the Flyers, friends. it’s all very exciting.

The Islanders, as they had been all night, took this in stride and stole the momentum away, spending the next three minutes or so more or less consistently set up in the offensive zone and looking like they were this close to turning those chances into something. But no such luck on that try.

They would have a better chance, as Vorobyev was called for a crosscheck and they had another chance on the power play. It didn’t really go as they would have hoped, of course, as while this time they were able to connect on their passes, they just couldn’t seem to get one of their shots through. Hughes remained steady and in position, and when he strayed his defensemen were blocking the shots. And with Frost winning one last draw and sending it out, time expired with no more goals scored.

We’re back at even strength, but maybe someone forgot to tell the Flyers, as we went right back to the defensive zone and the Islanders kept with the pressure and the cycle game. A stopped shot drew a whistle as well as a crowd, as Twarynski and Turcotte decided to mix it up, and were both subsequently sent off for roughing. So we get a bit of four-on-four!

The more open ice gave us a bit more speed and some danger brought by Ho-Sang and the Islanders, which was handled by Hughes, and then for Frost, which was also handled. Speed. No consequence. The story of a good part of the game. Alas.

Inside the last two minutes of play, it was Ratcliffe showing some flash, leading two more rushes into the offensive zone, flexing some impressive mobility, even if his shots didn’t amount to anything.

And with one more rush into the zone for the Islanders, and one more kick of the puck down the length of the ice by the Flyers, time expired, and our children took home the lead. Hockey is back, friends, and it’s off to a pretty sweet start.

FINAL: Flyers 6, Islanders 3

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