Veteran Flyers forwards Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk had some advice for teammate Joel Farabee before he made his NHL debut Monday night in a 6-2 win over visiting Vegas.
“Any time you play your first NHL game, I think you just have to go out there and play hockey,” Giroux said after the morning skate. “You can’t overthink it. You can’t think of the outcome and stuff like that. The first thing is to make sure you enjoy it because you only have one first NHL game. Just go out there and do what you’ve been doing your whole life – just play hockey.”
“Obviously there’s a lot of buildup and a lot of work to get to this point,” van Riemsdyk said. “It’s a fine line. You want to enjoy that moment, but also you have a job to do and to execute. It’s a great moment. You feel that sense of accomplishment, and certainly it’s an exciting feeling for him and his family.”
Farabee, 19, played 14 minutes, 35 seconds in his debut and had three shots and no points, but coach Alain Vigneault raved about his defensive effort.
Earlier in the day, Farabee, whose parents were at Monday’s game, said he was surprised and excited to get the call-up after only four AHL games with Lehigh Valley. The former Boston University standout had three goals and an assist in four games with the Phantoms, collecting a point in each contest.
His brief stay in Lehigh Valley, he said, helped him get more comfortable with his stickhanding in tight. “I’m not afraid to try certain plays now,” he said before the game. "I got a lot more confidence. Going down there definitely helped a lot and I’m sure it’ll help me [Monday].”
Farabee had a strong preseason with the Flyers and was in the middle of numerous scoring chances, but he went pointless. He hit the post at least five times.
With the Phantoms, “he finished a little bit there that he wasn’t able to do” in the preseason, Vigneault said. “The fact he got some games under his belt there and was able to find the back of the net, he’s bringing that here.”
“This is his first official NHL game,” Vigneault said. “I want him to go out, have fun, and remember it. Hopefully, he’ll play well for us.”
Vigneault said that some players mope when they are demoted to the AHL, but that Farabee had the right mindset.
On Monday, Farabee was the right winger on the third line with center Kevin Hayes and left winger Scott Laughton. He was also on the top power-play unit.
The lines were scrambled (again). Giroux went back to center and was between van Riemsdyk and Jake Voracek; Sean Couturier centered Oskar Lindblom and Travis Konecny; and Misha Vorobyev centered Michael Raffl and Chris Stewart.
Moving Giroux from left wing back to center “Gives us more balance,” Vigneault said, adding that he wanted another righthander at center and that it gave the Flyers more depth at that position.