PHILADELPHIA – Two potential future standouts for the Flyers were given a chance to show their wares on Monday night and they didn’t disappoint.
Highly touted goaltending prospect Carter Hart entered a game against the New York Islanders midway through the second period to a loud ovation.
Hart took over from starter Michal Neuvirth with the score 3-1 and the young Canadian kept the New Yorkers off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, Russian hotshot Vorobyov – playing with some of the big boys like Jake Voracek and James van Riemsdyk – scored the first goal of the game and looked comfortable in these lofty surroundings.
After a 3-1 preseason victory at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers were obviously heartened by the play of these two youngsters.
Who knows? Both of them could be called up from the Phantoms and see some action this season with the big team.
Vorobyov, 21, made some noise a couple years back at the World Junior Championships, then followed that up with a solid season at Lehigh Valley with the AHL team. He posted 29 points in 58 games and made a believer of Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon.
During this training camp, general manager Ron Hextall has made a point of praising Vorobyov’s play.
Some of his strong effort might have to do with getting more comfortable in smaller North America rinks compared to the Olympic-sized surfaces in Europe.
“The coaches were working (with me) on details,’’ the 6-2, 204-pound Vorobyov explained. “And when those details apply in the game, the game becomes better.’’
In modest fashion, he declined to talk about his excellence in the WJC.
“It’s history,’’ he said with a shrug.
One thing that has really improved is his command of English. Although maybe not enough to deal with some of those difficult questions from sports reporters.
“I am so much better after the one year spent in the AHL,’’ he said. “The guys on the team understand me but I’m not feeling comfortable to talk to the press yet.’’
So he uses a translator for now.
Vorobyov connected at 16:56 of the first period with a shot past Thomas Greiss.
A positive review came from van Riemsdyk.
“He’s got a good head for the game,’’ JVR said. “He’s got some good skill. Our line, for only having a morning skate together, I thought we did some good things.’’
Hart, seeing his first real action in a pro game (he played in a rookie game last Wednesday) admitted he was a little nervous at the start but he quickly settled down.
“It felt good to get out there,’’ Hart said. “And play in a real preseason game, not a rookie game. Good to get in there with the big boys.
“As the game went on I started to settle in. I thought we did a really good job of limiting pucks to the outside (he only faced 11 shots) and collapsing (in coverage) at the net front.’’
As much as he was focused on the game, he didn’t hear the fans all that much.
“I was concentrating on getting in,’’ he said. “I felt like I was seeing the puck pretty good.’’
Shayne Gostisbehere said Hart looked calm and not out of place.
“He was cool and collected,’’ Gostisbehere observed. “He looked comfortable, looked normal.’’
Otherwise, it was an impressive night for some of the Flyers veterans, particularly Gostisbehere, who came up with a pair of power-play goals, the first during a five-on-three with 29 seconds left in the first period against Greiss; the second at 5:30 of the second.
Mike Sislo had the only goal for the Islanders, that coming at 10:05 of the second.
Both Neuvirth and Brian Elliott were injured for long stretches last year, so Petr Mrazek had to be brought in from Detroit on somewhat of an emergency basis.
If Hart can show he’s NHL-ready (as Alex Lyon already has), the Flyers should have plenty of insurance if either or both of their veterans is sidelined.