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BOXED IN

by Anthony SanFilippo / Philadelphia Flyers

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Nine penalties. Six shorthanded situations. Lots of tired legs. Another lost point in a shootout loss.

The Flyers played well in the first, built a two-goal lead in the second, but lost it in the third when discipline failed them and in the end lost in the shootout, 4-3 to the New York Islanders, costing themselves a point that would have put them back in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

(Read the game recap here)

Instead of celebrating a home-and-home sweep of the gritty Islanders, the Flyers have to settle for just three of a possible four points, and have no one to blame but themselves for spending so much time in the penalty box.

“We had too many all game,” said coach Craig Berube. “We got caught in our zone a few times and guys were

Steve Downie took the penalty that allowed the Islanders to tie the game with a power play goal late in the third period. The Flyers were whistled for nine penalties in all.

gassed. We didn’t make good plays trying to get out of our end. We turned the puck over on those plays and got caught in there for longer periods of time.”

Tired legs lead to bad penalties, and that was the story of the game. The Islanders scored twice on the power play – and the end of a Scott Hartnell tripping penalty to tie it 1-1 in the second period and more egregiously, during a power play created by a hold by Steve Downie that allowed New York to tie the score 3-3 with less than three minutes to play in the game.

“We played pretty good but in the third period we gave them a chance to come back,” said Claude Giroux. “They had a couple periods and they feed off power plays, scored twice and fed off the momentum. We have to stay out of the box. When it’s 5-on-5 we’re a good team, we just got to move our feet more and not take those penalties.”

All six penalties that led to New York power plays were the result of a Flyer either being too tired to make a proper play and ended up taking the penalty, or it was a situation where the player got caught out of proper position and took a man down.

“You’re not going to win a game playing in the box,” said Matt Read, who scored a pair of goals in the game for the Flyers. “We had three in the third period. They had two power play goals. This something we’ve struggled with. We let teams get back into the game or get momentum in the game [because of penalties]. It’s a matter of not moving our feet and taking stupid penalties. We’ve got to learn from this and move forward.”

As a result of being shorthanded for nearly the equivalent of an entire period, the Islanders had the Flyers back on their heels a lot, especially in the third period when they outshot the Flyers 17-3.

And yet, the Flyers were able to build a 3-1 lead on the shoulders of goalie Ray Emery who played spectacularly with 40 saves, including several on high percentage chances.

Sean Couturier was stopped on the final try of the shootout by Isles goalie Anders Nilsson. The Flyers are 3-5 this seaosn in shootouts.

Stoning Michael Grabner with a glove save on a breakaway, stopping Matt Martin in front on a one-timer on a 2-on-0 (not a typo) and machining consecutive sprawling pad stops on John Tavares are just a few examples of the way Emery paced the Flyers to earning a point in this contest.

“Ray played great for us,” said Wayne Simmonds, who had the other goal for the Flyers. “He stood on his head and made a lot of big saves for us. Because of that we were able to get a point, which is better than coming out of it with nothing, so it wasn’t a completely wasted effort.”

The Flyers now have a quick turnaround and return home to play another Metropolitan Division rival when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at Wells Fargo Center tomorrow, a team that has beaten the Flyers twice already this season.

“We can’t go to the penalty box that many times,” coach Craig Berube reiterated. “If we do, we are asking for trouble.”

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers

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