On a night when the Flyers' top centerman, Claude Giroux, made his preseason debut coming off an injury, his top right wing went down with an injury of his own.
Jakub Voracek, the Flyers’ leading goal scorer last season with 22, sustained an “upper-body” injury during the second period of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center.
“It’s not serious,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “I don’t think he was going to play on Thursday anyway.”
Voracek was taken down hard from behind by Devils’ defenseman Mark Fayne during a second period breakaway.
The Czech winger slid awkwardly into the left post, appearing to injure the left side of his back. Though awarded a penalty shot, Voracek was in so much discomfort, he failed to get a decent shot off.
Even before taking the penalty shot, Voracek was in obvious pain after untangling himself from the net.
“You never want to see that,” coach Peter Laviolette said of the injury. “I love the move he made -- the power move to the net from the outside. It was a great play, a great attempt, but you don’t want to see anybody hurt.”
Voracek left the game and did not return, but was walking afterward without a limp. He was not, however, permitted to speak to the media.
Giroux made his preseason debut recovering from surgery to repair tendon damage to his right hand.
“I felt better as the game went on,” Giroux said. “I think the first period was just getting back in the game and making plays.”
He must be feeling pretty good, as Giroux won 9 of 11 faceoffs.
“He will continue to get to game speed and there is always a little bit of transition for guys coming in that … come off an injury and getting back into a game,” Laviolette said.
“Game speed and quickness, so I think that will get better for him as he plays and practices. Overall, he played a pretty good game.”
Injuries aside, early on this was another frustrating match against a Devils team that literally owns the Flyers.
What was unnerving about just another preseason game is that some of the things that presented themselves against the Devils, we’ve seen in the regular season.
Specifically, the Flyers' inability to handle the Devils' nasty forecheck. In fairness, once they found their skating legs in the second period, that was no longer an issue. However, the Flyers didn’t generate enough quality chances overall on goalie Corey Schneider.
In the first period, the Flyers couldn’t even generate shots, as they went over 11 minutes without a single one. When they finally did get one, it wasn’t from one of their high-octane forwards but rather enforcer Jay Rosehill.
New Jersey outshot the Flyers, 11-4, that period.
Second period? That was a completely different story, as the Flyers began moving their skates in unison.
“New guys playing with new guys and learning the system,” Giroux said. “You could see as the game went on we took control a little bit. New Jersey is always good defensively. We had our chances.”
Voracek’s breakaway represented the Flyers' best chance of the game.
The Flyers outplayed the Devils in the second period and had the better chances overall.
The Devils' first goal early in the game was a beauty in which Ryane Clowe hit Marek Zidlicky pinching down the slot from the point.
Zidlicky quickly scanned the Flyers' defense and put a stutter-step move on Erik Gustafsson. It was enough to allow him to swing very, very wide to the right circle, then cut behind Gustafsson to the net, switch hands and tuck the puck inside the right post.
The way Ray Emery was playing it, he obviously expected Zidlicky to go wide around the net and that didn’t happen.
“Yeah, it’s just a situation where you kind of get froze and you want to kind of challenge the shooter there, and he made a good play kind of coming back against it,” Emery said.
Mike Sislo’s backhander in the final period was weak. Not only did he get too much room in beating Andrej Meszaros, his shot found a hole between the post and Emery, as well.
Kimmo Timonen had a power-play goal late in the game.
The Flyers are now 1-3-1 with two exhibition games left to play -- Thursday in New Jersey and Friday in Washington.