Flyers vs. Capitals: Assistant coaches get feel for regulars in preseason loss

Flyers play more regulars with assistants behind bench in preseason loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

With at least eight regulars on the ice Wednesday night, the Flyers picked up their preseason process in a 3-1 loss to the Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center.

Kevin Hayes scored the Flyers' lone goal, which was assisted by Owen Tippett.

The Flyers are 1-2-0 halfway through their exhibition slate.

Assistant coaches Brad Shaw, Rocky Thompson and Darryl Williams were behind the club's bench for the first time this preseason. Head coach John Tortorella continued his evaluation from the Flyers' management suite.

Tortorella does not introduce system work early in his camps. Right now, it's about conditioning, work ethic and familiarizing himself with 60-plus healthy players. Things are ratcheting up, though, for the Flyers' staff and a round of cuts should be nearing.

"There's been video shown before games, mainly D-zone, forecheck," Shaw said Wednesday after morning skate. "We'll show a little bit of neutral zone tonight. Rocky showed his power play this morning, I'll show a few clips of general penalty kill tonight, as well. Then a couple that are from both the Buffalo game and the Boston game.

"We're kind of building that. It's not a big part of camp for Torts early on. Once we get down to a workable number, there will be a lot more information sort of sent out to the players in lots of different formats, and video will be one of them. It's a little different probably than most camps, but I've seen it five years there in Columbus and I have a real comfort level with it. I'm excited to get going."

• Wade Allison, who has fought injuries going back to college, had a scare early in the second period.

As the winger dumped the puck in near the blue line, he took a hard hit into the boards from Washington defenseman Dylan McIlrath. Allison tried staying on the bench but eventually had to make his way up the tunnel.

"I had to figure it out, that one hurt," Allison said.

He was able to return to the game not long after and then helped generate the Flyers' goal during the third period. Allison created a turnover off of a check and Tippett pounced on it before finding Hayes for the marker.

He also had eight hits.

Impressive resolve from Allison, who had the respect of Tortorella in the opener despite not playing much. If Allison can stay healthy, he's right there in the Flyers' picture of wanting to get younger and identifying which players are pieces moving forward.

"I thought his game got better as he went along," Shaw said. "We moved him up in the lineup, deservedly so, and that's a great sign for a young player. Some guys, like he did, get better and others sort of fall off. I thought we looked tired at times. It's been a tough camp, there's been a lot of skating. I thought there was a lot of try. Maybe fatigue played a little part of how we didn't have the necessary second effort that you need to have success at this level."

Tony DeAngelo and Nicolas Deslauriers saw their first game action with the Flyers.

DeAngelo played in his projected top-pair defensive role alongside Ivan Provorov and on the top power play unit. He moved well, as expected, and should help the Flyers exit the defensive zone more consistently and efficiently.

The South Jersey native and Provorov each played over 23 minutes and finished as a minus-1.

"I didn’t really help him too much," DeAngelo said. "I didn’t have a very good game, but still good to get reps in and get touches and stuff. Just one game. Get going and keep working for the next game."

The Flyers need the two to build chemistry as quickly as possible.

"We expect a lot from those two guys," Shaw said Wednesday after morning skate. "We expect, more than anything, a real good example on the adherence or the buy in on the team game and how we're going to play hockey as an organization.

"I can't wait to see how they handle some of the better units in the league. That's when the real test comes. So far, they've complemented each other really well. They've got enough differences in their games, even in how they approach the game, that I think can be a real healthy combination."

Deslauriers drew a penalty in a near-fight with Capitals forward Kale Kessy and racked up nine hits. To no surprise, he's not fast. His presence is noticeable, though. The Flyers will not just ask for his toughness; they'll need him to help with their goal-prevention efforts, as well.

Felix Sandstrom played the first two periods in net and allowed his first goals of the preseason. After stopping all 17 shots thrown his way through half of the preseason opener, he made 13 saves on 15 shots Wednesday night.

Connor Brown and Dylan Strome scored the markers for Washington in the second period. Strome's was a power play blast that Sandstrom had little chance to stop.

Sandstrom is competing with Troy Grosenick for the backup job.

"I think he has looked comfortable, really calm in the net, very efficient," Shaw said about Sandstrom. "I don't talk about goaltenders much, but I really like when goalies look like he looks. He's going to make it tough on the final decision and that's great."

Just like Tuesday night in the Flyers' 2-1 loss to the Sabres, Samuel Ersson played the third period. Strome added a second goal in the final stanza as Ersson made 11 saves on 12 shots.

• Tyson Foerster got a look on the Flyers' top line with Hayes and Tippett.

Hayes advised the 20-year-old prospect with a big shot to show it off.

"He told me he was going to be feeding me all night," Foerster said Wednesday morning. "He said shoot the puck, you have a good shot, and he just told me to shoot."

Foerster finished with two shots and no points through 18-plus minutes in his second preseason game. He's projected to open the season with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

"I don't think I was at my best tonight," Foerster said. "We didn't win, so it's upsetting. I've got more in the tank, for sure."

Carter Hart (lower body) and Cam Atkinson (upper body) did not play but both continued to practice Wednesday.

More: Couturier remains week to week, but there's some good news with his back injury

• The Flyers are off Thursday before getting back to practice Friday at 11 a.m. ET in Voorhees, New Jersey.

Their fourth preseason game is Saturday against the Bruins in Boston (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

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