PHILADELPHIA – Wade Allison played enough games with the Flyers last year to not be considered a “bubble” player but that’s the approach he’s taking to this season anyway.
He managed to get into 60 games and posted nine goals, which isn’t too bad for a checking type player who does more hitting than scoring.
On Saturday night, he didn’t hurt his cause when he scored just minutes into the opening period of the Flyers’ 3-2 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center.
Allison finished off a give-and-go exchange with rookie Bobby Brink to give Philadelphia a brief 1-0 lead.
Since the opening of training camp, Allison insists he’s been playing for a roster spot. Maybe the goal will calm his nerves.
“Yeah, I’m just trying to do whatever I can,” Allison said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a weight off my shoulders but it’s a step in the right direction.”
Allison played much of his game on the left side, his off-wing. It didn’t seem to affect his comfort level.
“It’s the same thing (as the right side),” Allison said. “It’s hockey still. I feel like I’m doing a lot of good things out there. Need to clean up a few of the decisions I’m making out there.
“I like where my game is at and I like where it’s going.”
Assistant coach Rocky Thompson, who ran the bench for this game, believes Allison is playing with the intention of making the team.
“He’s fighting for a spot without a doubt,” Thompson confirmed. “He is trying to find a way out there to get things done. It’s hard to play on your off side but I thought he did a nice job with it.”
At that point, it looked like the Flyers were possibly going to avenge a 6-0 loss at New Jersey but that wasn’t the case.
The Devils came back, scoring twice against Flyers’ No. 1 goaltender Carter Hart.
New Jersey took advantage of a Flyers defensive miscue to tie the score at 8:38, with Curtis Lazar finishing off a two-on-one rush. Then the Devils took the lead on a goal by Alexander Holtz at 16:42.
That’s the way it stayed until the closing minutes of the game when the Flyers’ Rhett Gardner scored with 3:06 to play for a 2-2 tie.
New Jersey scored at 2:28 of OT to win it.
>Second good game for Brink
One night after registering a goal, an assist and a shootout goal in a 4-3 win at Boston, Brink played another strong game against the Devils.
“He’s answering some tough questions,” Thompson said. “He’s going to make our decision (about the final roster) hard, which is what you want.”
Brink was the only player who took part in both the Boston and New Jersey games (on back-to-back nights).
“It’s nothing, it happens during the regular season,” Brink said. “Last year in the AHL we were playing three (games) in three (nights). So it’s another game and you have to show up ready for it.”
Some believe Brink has a shot at the final roster.
“I mean that’s my job,” he said. “Come here, do my best to try to win a spot on the team. Ultimately it’s not my decision. Just come out here and try to do my best.”
For a player who has missed a season and a half due to back surgeries, Sean Couturier certainly isn’t leaving much on the table so far in this preseason.
He was back at it on Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils.
“The body feels good,” he reported. “Surprisingly I’m not too sore. I worked hard all summer to get through this tough camp. I’m obviously tired, it’s been a long, hard camp. I’m just trying to recover as much as I can.
“I’m excited about the next couple games. Just trying to get my rhythm back.”
>Roster reduced to 40
The Flyers reduced their roster by four players on Saturday night. They loaned forward Elliot Desnoyers and defenseman Helge Grans to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. In addition, the Flyers have released forwards Jordy Bellerive and Jacob Gaucher from their professional tryouts and both will report to the Phantoms.
>Team gets unscheduled day off
The Flyers received word on Saturday that Sunday’s scheduled practice at the Flyers Training Center has been scratched. Philadelphia will return to action on Monday when the Boston Bruins hit town.
Hart said his first action of the preseason went well. “I felt pretty good,” he said. “A couple bad bounces, the first one (goal) went off a skate. But I shook off the rust a little bit. That’s what preseason games are for.” . . .
Longtime Flyers executive and goodwill ambassador Joe Kadlec was in attendance while celebrating his 80th birthday. Kadlec is an “original” Flyer, having joined the team in its very first year, 1967.