PHILADELPHIA | The Flyers’ 3-2 victory over the Capitals in their annual rookie game Thursday won’t mean much, if anything, moving forward. But how many young Caps players performed could give an indication of the future.
With that in mind, the mini-hype over defenseman Dmitry Orlov seems completely deserved. The 20-year-old who still hasn’t played a full season in North America, looked poised and comfortable – especially in pressure situations with the puck in tight spaces.
Orlov didn’t register a point in the game but showed he wasn’t afraid to jump up into the play or get involved physically.
Hershey coach Mark French, who got to see a lot of Orlov last season, knows what the young Russian is capable of with his deceptively thick frame.
“Dmitry usually at least once a game he’s stepping up to make an open ice hit and I think that’s a big part of his game,” French said this week. “He’ll certainly make opponents know when he’s on the ice because he likes that part of it.”
Tomas Hyka – a free agent invitee for the Flyers – found that out midway through the second when he was on the receiving end of an Orlov check while chasing down a loose puck along the end boards.
In addition to physicality, Orlov was captaining the first power-play unit, which featured Cody Eakin, Mattias Sjogren, Brett Flemming and Stan Galiev – a nice dose of the Caps’ future.
Garrett Ross, a free agent invitee, scored the Caps’ first goal, which was set up beauitfully by a forced turnover and pass by Galiev.
Garrett Mitchell scored the second one, a result of a Dustin Stevenson point shot that deflected off Taylor Stefishen along the way. Mitchell, whose feistiness has impressed coach Bruce Boudreau during rookie camp, knocked the rebound in past Flyers netminder Michael Houser.
Tyler Brown, Blake Kessel (brother of Maple Leafs forward Phil) and Hyka scored the Flyers’ goals. Brown scored by abusing Samuel Carrier; Kessel pinched on the power play and Hyka took advantage of some loose defense by Flemming.
Starting Caps goalie Philipp Grubauer allowed two goals on 13 shots in a little over 30 minutes, though he couldn’t be faulted for either one.
This game between Caps and Flyers rookies is known for high tensions and fights, and this one didn’t disappoint. Stevenson fought Philadelphia’s Campbell Elynuik; Reid Edmondson fought Philadelphia’s Derek Mathers and tough guy Danick Paquette fought Philadelphia’s Tyler Hostetter.