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Flyers Training Camp

5 Observations: Ersson Solid, DeAngelo Scores, N. Cates Impressive in Flyers’ Loss

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Sam Ersson, Philadelphia Flyers
Goalie Sam Ersson has been strong in the preseason for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is battling for the backup spot. Photo: Sam Carchidi.

In their next-to-last exhibition game Sunday night, the Philadelphia Flyers suffered their fourth consecutive loss, falling to the New York Islanders, 2-1, at UBS Arena.

The effort was there, but a pair of second-period Isles goals 5:03 apart proved to be the difference.

The Flyers are 1-4 on the preseason, which ends with Tuesday’s rematch against the Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center.

New Flyers coach John Tortorella was behind the bench for the first time this season. He watched the first four games from the press level.

Isles goalie Jakub Skarek robbed Noah Cates and Tony DeAngelo in the last 1.8 seconds to preserve the win.

Here are five observations from the hard-fought matchup:

1. The Flyers’ power play finally got going.

Early in the second period, defenseman Tony DeAngelo snapped a scoreless tie as he scored from the right circle while the Philadelphia Flyers were on a five-on-three power play. DeAngelo is expected to make the power play much more effective than last season.

It was their second five-on-three goal of the preseason.

The Flyers entered the night just 1 for 15 (6.7%) on the power play in the first four preseason games.

A year ago, they had the second-worst PP (12.6%) in franchise history.

2. Tyson Foerster, 20, is close to being NHL-ready.

Fact is, he has given the Flyers a reason to pause and think about keeping him with the NHL club to start the season.

The right winger has had a strong preseason, and continued to play well Sunday. He had two shots, two hits, and was active in front of the net, and assisted on DeAngelo’s power-play goal.

He will likely go to the Phantoms, but should be on GM Chuck Fletcher’s speed dial.

3. The Flyers’ haven’t scored much in the preseason, but when they have, Morgan Frost has been in the middle of things.

He set up DeAngelo’s second-period, power-play goal, giving the Flyers a 1-0 lead. At that point, Philly had five goals in five preseason games — and Frost had assists on three of them.

Frost, 23, played left wing on Sunday.

4. Goalie Sam Ersson was solid.

With Felix Sandstrom sidelined indefinitely, Ersson could sneak onto the roster.

He allowed two goals on 23 shots Sunday. He had no chance on the first goal (power-play rebound by Kyle Palmieri), and appeared screened on the second tally, a blast by defenseman Scott Mayfield  just as the Islanders’ power play expired.

Ersson’s development has been one of the most pleasant surprises of training camp. The almost-23-year-old Swede has shown no ill effects from groin surgery. He has stopped 39 of 42 in the preseason for a .929 save percentage.

You have to love his composure when the opponent swarms the net. The kid has the makeup that a goalie needs — and says he gets that from watching Carey Price over the years.

5. Noah Cates seemed comfortable at center.

Cates, 23, who had played exclusively at left wing in the preseason, was good in the faceoff circle and set up his brother, Jackson, for several scoring chances. Wade Allison was also on the line.

In the preseason, Cates has been one of the Flyers’ best players. He had five shot attempts Sunday and won 53 percent of his 19 faceoffs.

Breakaways

DeAngelo, paired mostly with Kevin Connauton, had a strong game with a goal, three shots, and three blocked shots in 26:08. … Flyers defenseman Egor Zamula was hit in the face with a deflected puck with 13:59 to go in regulation and left the ice. He returned later in the period. Zamula finished with five shot attempts (two on goal) and blocked two shots in 17:54. … Nic Deslauriers and Connauton each had four hits for Philly. … Scott Laughton won 11 of 15 faceoffs (73%). … Semyon Varlamov played two periods and stopped 16 of 17 shots for the Isles. … The Flyers end their preseason schedule by hosting the Isles on Tuesday. Carter Hart could make his first appearance of the preseason. … Fletcher said he had no update on Sandstrom’s condition.

Carchidi Column: What If Flyers Are As Bad As They Look in Preseason?

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