Feel free to take all of the grains of salt you need, but a very young incarnation of the Islanders shut out a similarly inexperienced version of the Flyers 3-0 Monday night at Barclays Center in the preseason opener for both teams.
The total number of players with NHL experience for both teams could be counted on two hands (really only Michael Del Zotto and Colin McDonald for Philadelphia and about five or six guys for the Islanders). Eric Boulton is older than any two combined teammates from tonight.
But the Islanders looked pretty good throughout and pushed play for the most part. Again, preseason status accepted.
The game was scoreless through two periods with Flyers goalie Anthony Stolarz and Islanders starter Jean-Francois Berube making timely saves. Christopher Gibson replaced Berube at the halfway mark of the second and kept the sheet clean. Berube and Gibson each finished with 14 saves and Stolarz had 33.
Shane Prince finally broke through at 4:28 of the third when his pass across the crease found its way past Stolarz. About four minutes later, Joshua Ho-Sang scored on a great feed from Mathew Barzal. From the right circle, Barzal found Ho-Sang in front of the net, and with a good couple of undefended seconds to line-up his shot, Ho-Sang roofed the puck past Stolarz.
Michael Dal Colle added an empty netter with about two minutes remaining.
There were even two fights, with both Ryan Strome and Prince taking their frustrations out on the Flyers’ Nick Cousins. Strome took exception to a hit Cousins threw in the second period and jumped him. In the third, Prince probably just didn’t like Cousins’ face. I’d prefer they save their hands for goal-scoring, but the effort is appreciated.
The Islanders have two split squad games tomorrow night, one against the Flyers in Philadelphia and one against the Rangers at MSG. We’ll see who’s in which line-up in the morning. The Rangers game will be broadcast on some MSG Network and not whatever 28.8 dial-up modem the Flyers were using for their broadcast that we watched tonight via the Islanders’ site.