Bemidji State hockey alums Matt Read and Andrew Murray making strong cases for roster spots in NHL

Philadelphia Flyers' Matt Read, from right, Jakub Voracek, of Czec Republic, and Brayden Schenn celebrate after Read's goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, of Sweden, in the second period of a preseason NHL hockey game, Monday, Sept. 26, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Bemidji State hockey alums Andrew Murray and Matt Read are looking like good bets to make opening night lineups in the National Hockey League.

Philadelphia Flyers insider Tim Panaccio of Comcast Philadelphia is reporting Read will make the opening night roster:

Two club sources say Read will be on this team, but that’s been evident for a while now given the amount of work the 25-year-old has gotten on the power play and penalty kill.

And Read is going to play. He won’t be the 13th forward. In this one, he worked with Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn.

Through Monday night’s games, Read has six points (two goals, four assists) and is tied with Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele for the NHL lead in preseason points.

Read, who graduated last year, scored Monday night on the power play on a one-timer from Danny Briere. He beat goalie Henrik Lundqvist and it was Philadelphia’s third power-play goal of the night in a 5-3 win over the New York Rangers.

“I think I’m playing well and I’m just glad to have the opportunity right now,” Read said in the postgame press conference. “I just need to do the best I can out there…hopefully in a week or two we’ll find out and I’d love to be here.”

Here’s the full postgame interview with Read via BroadStreetHockey.

The Flyers host New Jersey Thursday night in a televised game on Versus and close the preseason at New Jersey Saturday night. Philadelphia opens the regular season Thursday, Oct. 6 at Boston in a game on Versus.

If Read can make the roster and stay there, local fans might get a chance to see him in the 24/7 production on HBO. The reality-style documentary series will follow the Flyers and New York Rangers as they prepare for the NHL Winter Classic Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Last year’s production with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals was a hit and has the endorsement of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. The show premieres Dec. 14.

Murray excels on San Jose penalty kill

Andrew Murray #28 of the San Jose Sharks jumps on the back of Keith Ballard #4 of the Vancouver Canucks during their game at Rogers Arena September 25, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Nick Didlick/Getty Images)

Murray, who played at BSU from 2001-05, is earning praise from San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan for his play on the fourth line with Brad Winchester and Andrew Desjardins.

Here’s a quote from McLellan on Murray in Monday’s San Jose Mercury News.

“If you go back to the menu of what we wanted from those players,” McLellan said of Murray, who played four seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, “he’s played to it and he’s been a very good penalty killer so far.”

McLellan has not publicly guaranteed any spots on the fourth line despite the stability in the preseason and is expected to give other players a chance.

Murray scored in the Sharks first two games of the preseason and has played in three of the four games. He’s averaging right around 15 minutes of ice time per game. He averaged three minutes on the power play in the first two games and played five minutes on the penalty kill in Sunday’s win at Vancouver.

Murray helped kill a six-on-four Canucks power play in the final 1:36 of the game to preserve the 4-3 win.

The Sharks have two preseason games left and both games are at home. Thursday’s game against the Canucks will be televised on the NHL Network. The Sharks preseason ends Saturday night against Phoenix and regular season opener is Oct. 8 at home against the Coyotes.

Follow Eric Stromgren on Twitter at @estromgren and on Facebook.