PHILADELPHIA – Joel Farabee really wasn’t himself on the ice last season and Cam Atkinson wasn’t on the ice period.
But both looked pretty sharp in the Flyers’ 3-1 win over Boston on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Each scored a goal as the Flyers raised their record to 2-3 with one game to go (against the Islanders on Thursday night). Both of Philadelphia’s victories have come against the Bruins. They took a 4-3 shootout decision in Boston last Friday night.
As he was falling to the ice Atkinson, who missed all of the 2022-23 campaign due to back surgery, flipped a backhand shot past Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman at 1:10 on the first of three Flyer goals in the second period.
After a Travis Konecny goal (a nifty shot from the left circle at 2:08), Farabee got into the act. He also underwent offseason surgery in 2022 and never regained his overall game from previous years. In this game, he put the puck in the net off a Ronnie Attard point shot deflection at the 16-minute mark.
Farabee said he’s been working hard during the offseason to sort of recover from last year’s slightly disappointing season.
“For me right now it’s my legs,” Farabee said after the game. “The jump in my legs. I’m getting to the right spots. Whether it’s one stride, two strides, getting on guys. I think that’s really been the difference for my training this summer.
“So I feel like myself in good spots going to the net. Obviously good things happen when you do that. I don’t know if it’s necessarily one zone or one area. I just feel like loose pucks. . .when I try to beat guys wide I feel like I have that extra step that I probably didn’t have last year. At the end of the day, it just creates space for myself. My legs feel a lot stronger and I feel like I had that step that I had in my game a couple years ago.”
Coach John Tortorella said it’s probably too early to make a solid evaluation of Farabee’s progress.
“I think he’s had a good camp,” the coach said. “He’s certainly put more time into it because he’s been able to. He’s getting the minutes, we’ll just keep on playing him and see where it goes.”
Atkinson was all smiles after scoring his first goal in more than a year.
“It was nice,” he said. “I can still score in this league. It’s always good to score. It was kind of an opportunistic bounce. And I was able to put it away. Camp is always tough for me. No matter if I played last year or not, first games are always kind of crapshoots for me. Played on a good line, we probably should have scored on every shift.”
Morgan Frost had assists on both of the first two Philadelphia goals. Frost also won nine of 11 faceoffs.
Samuel Ersson, battling for the Flyers’ backup goalie position, played the entire game.
He seemed pleased with his effort.
Where does he think he stands in the three-goalie battle for No. 2?
“It’s hard for me to think about that right now,” he said. “It’s really out of my control. All I can do is focus on the games. I’ve been pretty happy with my performances so far. Overall, I think I’ve done some good stuff. I still have to prove myself.”
The Flyers complete their preseason schedule on Thursday night when they face the New York Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center.
Some of the other more notable veterans in the Flyers’ lineup included Sean Couturier, Noah Cates (who has changed last year’s No. 49 to No. 27 this season), Owen Tippett, Scott Laughton, Cam York, Ryan Poehling and Rasmus Ristolainen.
Morgan Geekie scored the Bruins’ only goal in the first period.
For the second straight game, Attard partnered with Adam Ginning. The two play together quite often when they are competing for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
It was an overall strong defensive effort for the Flyers, who held the Bruins to just 14 shots.