Nothing positive from Flyers' blowout in Buffalo

Posted: October 04, 2010

BUFFALO - In the NHL, much like the NFL, the final preseason game is less of tuneup for the 82-game regular-season march and more of a last call for players competing for jobs.

General manager Paul Holmgren said it best, when asked if the Flyers' 9-3 drubbing by the Buffalo Sabres last night helped clarify any decisions still up in the air:

"Probably in a negative way," Holmgren said.

No one was more negatively impacted than goaltender Johan Backlund.

Backlund, making his first preseason appearance after offseason hip surgery, entered the game with a chance to knock off Sergei Bobrovsky for the backup spot with Michael Leighton on the shelf for the first month of the season.

Instead, he was yanked from the game in the second period, leaving little doubt that surprising Russian prospect Bobrovsky will start the season in the NHL. Backlund allowed seven goals on 20 shots, including three goals against on his final three shots faced.

"My hip felt really good and didn't bother me at all, but obviously I was a little bit rusty," Backlund said. "It was a tough game. I know that I missed the beginning of the camp, so I was a little bit behind. I just need to try to forget this."

Backlund received little support from his teammates, especially in the second period.

"You learn that if you don't compete, you get kicked," coach Peter Laviolette said. "A lot of those goals were back-door goals. It was his first game in a long time."

Backlund wasn't aided by the Flyers lineup, which barely broke the eight veteran minimum required for all preseason games. Three players - Stefan Legein, Pat Maroon and Dan Jancevski - were recalled before the game from AHL Adirondack, which played not too far away in Syracuse.

Laviolette said he had already seen enough from his veterans in the first seven games to know what his lineup will be when the real season opens on Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

"We started to play pond hockey," Holmgren said. "I felt bad for Johan. He didn't have a lot of support. I'll take blame for that, we didn't dress a very good lineup. We wanted to rest a lot of guys who are going to play big minutes for us. That's the price you pay."

Slap shots

Chris Pronger resumed skating yesterday for the first time since last Monday. Pronger remains a possibility for Thursday's opener . . . The Flyers finished the preseason 5-2-1 . . . Dan Carcillo scored his first goal of the preseason but was handed a 10-minute misconduct and game misconduct for chirping at the referee in the second period. That was his second ejection in six preseason games . . . Blair Betts left last night's preseason game during the second period as a precaution, Paul Holmgren said.

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