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September 21, 2015

Five things: Flyers 5, Islanders 3

On Monday night, the Flyers and New York Islanders went all spring training and split their teams up for games in both Allentown and Brooklyn (which is technically still on the island!). Dave Hakstol coached a more talented roster — The Read-Couturier-Simmonds line were the notables in NYC — at PPL Center, the new home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

CSN was nice enough to air the Allentown game and we were treated to a bunch of goals. Hakstol is now on pace to win every single game of his career after a 5-3 Flyers victory. Here’s what I saw:

1. Dazzling debut for Konecny

Seventh overall pick Ivan Provorov played in his first game, but the Flyers’ other 2015 first rounder stole the show. Travis Konecny is an undersized forward, but he made a gigantic impact on the game with his skating and passing ability. His goal in the second period wasn’t all that impressive, but it felt deserved after all of the havoc he had already created. Fun player to watch.

Konecny had a very impressive shift at the end of the first period where he made three excellent passes and set up two scoring chances from point blank range. As for Provorov, he experienced both good and bad moments. This is fine. He’s still 18 years old and likely headed back to Brandon in the next few weeks anyway. The same goes for Konecny, except he’ll be in Ottawa.

2. Good start for Medvedev

This was our first look at newcomer/mystery man Evgeny Medvedev in game action. The 33-year-old Russian defenseman is still learning English, and Jim Jackson mentioned on the broadcast that he and defensive partner Michael Del Zotto have a few basic words/commands (reverse, boards, man on, etc.) on the ice. The duo has been paired together since camp got underway.

Medvedev had a first period shift that stood out where he maneuvered behind the net, created a scoring chance, and then immediately recovered in time to break up an outlet pass near center ice. He also blasted a shot from the point that led to Vinny Lecavalier’s power play goal.

3. Top line looks fine

As you would expect playing against a roster filled with AHL players, the Raffl-Giroux-Voracek line did some damage offensively. Jake Voracek hit Raffl, who was on the first power play unit with Wayne Simmonds in Brooklyn, for a sweet deflection to open the scoring. Later in the third period, Del Zotto scored from the point with Voracek parked in front of the net.

4. Neuvirth in goal

Steve Mason got the night off, so Michael Neuvirth made his debut in orange and black. Taking Mason’s trouble staying healthy last season into account, the Flyers might choose to play Neuvirth more than the average backup netminder. On this night, the first goal he allowed was pretty weak but he settled down and made some nice saves as the game went on.

5. No sleep in Brooklyn

The Flyers’ B-ish team lost 3-2 to the Isles’ A-ish team up in Brooklyn. Brayden Schenn, essentially playing with team’s fifth line alongside Chris Porter and Scott Laughton, scored for the Flyers. Taylor Leier was the other goalscorer.

In preparation for the regular season, the Flyers and the Islanders played 3-on-3 overtime. This is something I’m excited to see tomorrow night when the New York Rangers are in Philly. It's basically Wayne Gretzky 3D Hockey come to life! On this night, neither team could find the back of the net in the five-minute period, which should be a rare occurrence.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann