ALLENTOWN — Speedy left winger Taylor Leier is considered a long shot to earn a roster spot, but he made a strong case for himself Wednesday with a two-goal performance in the Flyers’ 3-2 split-squad exhibition win over the New York Islanders at the PPL Center.
Shayne Gostisbehere won it with a right-circle one-timer 53 seconds into overtime, scoring after taking a nice feed from Nolan Patrick.
Leier’s goals were both scored on second-period power plays, and Dale Weise had a hand in both of them. The game was played at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ AHL arena.
“It was good to be back in a familiar rink … and things worked out,” said Leier, who figures to survive Thursday’s roster cuts.
Leier, 23, had 13 goals and 37 points in 48 games with the Phantoms last season, a year that was interrupted because of a neck injury.
“I see a lot of smart little plays in his game,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “In a game that didn’t have a lot of pace to it or a lot of flow, I thought he was one guy who brought some speed to the table and had some of that pace.”
Added Hakstol: “That’s what you love about Taylor _ you know what you’re going to get from him. He understands the details of the game and he’s a pretty consistent performer in the role you give him.”
The game had little flow because there were 15 penalties called.
The Isles tied it at 2-2 with 24 seconds left in regulation, scoring after they pulled their goalie for an extra attacker and Anders Lee scored on his own rebound.
Weise made a slick pass to set Leier’s first goal, tying the score at 1-1 36 seconds into the second period. With Weise setting a screen in front of goalie Christopher Gibson, Leier roofed his second goal, scoring from the right circle to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 3:36 left in the second.
Gostisbehere and rookie Oskar Lindblom had assists on the second goal.
“I felt good to be back in Allentown. It’s a familiar territory and a lot of familiar faces around the rink,” Leier said after firing a game-high six shots. “I felt good coming into the game.”
Leier said he feels he is an NHL player.
“Last year, I felt it when I was up,” said Leier, who scored a goal in a 10-game stint with the Flyers. “Two years ago, when I had six games up, I felt good, but last year I felt even better. I felt like I belonged.
“This year, I’m coming in even more confident,” he added, “and I’m willing to accept any role and any challenge. I want to help the Flyers win a Stanley Cup.”
Michal Neuvirth was sharp in his first preseason start, stopping 16 of 17 shots before being replaced by Leland Irving at the start of the third period.
The Islanders had taken a 1-0 lead as Mathew Barzal scored a five-on-three goal, ripping a left-circle one-timer past Neuvirth, who had no chance, with 17:46 left in the first. Barzal, a rookie trying to earn a roster spot, was a first-round selection (16th overall) in 2015.
The Isles dominated the first period, one in which the Flyers committed four penalties, including three for slashing. New York had a 13-5 shots edge in the period.
Breakaways. Rookie defensemen Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim and Robert Hagg had strong games for the Flyers….Weise had a pair of assists….In Brooklyn, the Flyers dropped a 3-2 decision to the Islanders. Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist for the Flyers.