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Tomas Hyka Makes His Mark, But Flyers Lose Bryz’s Preseason Debut

Sep 21, 2011, 10:07 PM EDT

We're not gonna go nuts analyzing this one, save for letting those of you who didn't watch the Flyers second preseason game know that they lost it by a 4-2 count, and didn't look quite as good as they did the night before. Despite dressing a more veteran group on Wednesday night and starting their new starting goaltender, the Flyers lost at home to the Maple Leafs and were generally outplayed for most of the game. There was understandable rust combined with some bad luck with deflections getting past Ilya Bryzgalov, and really, we're not going to lose any sleep over a lackluster first preseason game from a team that saw a ton of turnover in the offseason. One forward stood out among the group though, both before and during the game.

We’re not gonna go nuts analyzing this one, save for letting those of you who didn’t watch the Flyers second preseason game know that they lost it by a 4-2 count and didn’t look quite as good as the (almost entirely different) Flyers group did the night before. Despite dressing a more veteran group on Wednesday night and starting their new starting goaltender, the boys lost at home to the Maple Leafs and were generally outplayed for most of the game.

There was understandable rust combined with some bad luck on deflections getting past Ilya Bryzgalov, and really, we’re not going to lose any sleep over a lackluster first preseason game from a team that saw a ton of turnover in the offseason. One forward stood out among the group though, both before and during the game—Tomas Hyka.

More, plus video highlights, below.

Several beats tweeted that Hyka had been sent back to his junior squad, but the Flyers called him back before he boarded the plane today. The 18-year-old Czech forward was given ice time with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, including on the powerplay. Hyka scored the Flyers’ first goal of the night, pulling in a pass from last night’s standout player, Matt Read, and beating Jonas Gustavsson. Hyka then made himself at home in the Wells Fargo Center, cupping his glove to his ear as he skated along the boards in celebration of the goal.

Hyka drew a penalty on his next shift and finished the night with a goal, four shots on goal, and a +2 rating. If the Flyers called him back for a second look, there’s not a lot more he could have done.

Kimmo Timonen generated the Flyers’ other goal with just over 2 minutes left to play in the third. Claude Giroux set Kimmo up at the point, and Kimmo blasted it on goal, where it bounced between the iron and the Toronto netminder. Erik Gustafsson whacked away at it and was credited with the tally.

Jody Shelley could get a call from new NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan after an obvious boarding call on Toronto’s Darryl Boyce. More on that here, including the long fight that ensued.

Three goals against (the fourth was an empty netter) isn’t quite the start anyone was hoping for for Bryzgalov, but two of them came off of deflections, including a double-bounce on the second.

Personally, I found myself less interested in Bryzgalov on the night than I was some of the younger guys. Bryz’s role is set in stone—we’ll see his giant frame in the net more often than not. But this Flyers’ camp is about gelling the new faces with the guys who were here last year, and also the younger guys battling for roster spots. The roster bubble will be exciting this year, as a few good players won’t be making the big club (though not for lack of effort). Peter Laviolette has on more than one occasion called it the most important training camp he’s been a part of as a coach.

Video Highlights:

(Photo: AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)