For most of the Flyers’ training camp, the defense has appeared ahead of the offense.
In a wild intrasquad scrimmage in which defense was only a rumor, Team Orange defeated Team Black, 7-6, in Voorhees.
Claude Giroux scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, and Kevin Hayes had a hat trick for the losers.
“Obviously at the beginning it was kind of goal after goal, but once we settled down it was pretty good,” Hayes said. “The hardest part is you can be in the best shape of your life, but you’ve got to get back into game shape, stops and starts and doing the right things on the ice. I think every day we get toward that. Today we got one step closer to our final project.”
Hayes was asked if scoring three goals and not having fans throw hats onto the ice was a preview of what it would be like when the games restart, also without spectators.
“I wanted to take my bucket off and throw it on the ice,” he said. “I know Yeosie [assistant Mike Yeo] wanted to do something. I don’t think the guys watching realized I had a hat trick.”
Giroux, Sean Couturier, Jake Voracek, Joel Farabee, Tyler Pitlick, and Carsen Twarynski scored for the Orange.
Hayes’ hat trick was complemented by goals from teammates Travis Konecny, the blossoming Nic Aube-Kubel, and Ivan Provorov.
After having arthroscopic surgery on each knee since January, defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said he was starting to feel “pretty normal” on the ice.
He played well Tuesday.
“I think just the first couple days was just more a wind thing than feeling right. Just testing my leg out was good,” he said. “I got to make some plays out there. Try to get back in that lineup, per se. I think for myself, just going out there proving I’m a good player. Just getting my bearings out there and feeling OK.”
Gostisbehere, who is battling Robert Hagg for the No. 6 defensive spot, said that his knees feel “10 times better” than they did in the regular season and that he now has a “clear mind going into any sort of play.”
“I’m not thinking, ‘Is this movement going to hurt or is this going to hurt?’ Just having a clear mind and focusing straight on hockey. Making those plays, making those reads, and trusting myself. It’s definitely a nice change.”
If he doesn’t crack the lineup, Gostisbehere said, he would “be the best cheerleader. I think for myself, it’s just focusing on myself getting better and this team winning a Stanley Cup.”