In the penultimate game of the season series between the teams, the Philadelphia Flyers lost to the New York Islanders via a five-round shootout, 3-2 (1-0), at the Nassau Coliseum on Thursday evening. The Flyers have played well at five-on-five in each of the four games in April -- and had perhaps their best penalty killing game in many weeks -- but have only a 1-1-2 record to show for it.
In the first period, Brock Nelson (15th goal of the season) and Jordan Eberle (14th) built a quick 2-0 lead for the Islanders. A fluke goal by Nicolas Aube-Kubel (3rd) narrowed the gap to one goal. Jakub Voracek (7th) scored on a 2-on-1 early in the second period to tie the game at 2-2. A tight-checking third period was scoreless for both teams. After a scoreless overtime and four scoreless shootout rounds, Brock Nelson scored the winning goal.
Carter Hart stopped 19 of 21 shots in regulation. In OT, he made two more saves, including a Mathew Barzal power play one-timer. He went 4-for-5 in the shootout. Ilya Sorokin denied 23 of 25 shots in regulation. He made two additional stops in overtime.
The Flyers went 0-for-2 on the power play, and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill including a five-minute kill in the opening period and a 4-on-3 kill for the final 1:58 of overtime.
Robert Hägg (22:03 TOI, three blocked shots, two hits, three shots on goal, several defensive zone kills) was activated for injured reserve earlier in the day, playing his first game since March 17. He replaced Philippe Myers in the Flyers' starting lineup. For New York, the just-acquired Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac made their Islanders debuts.
In regulation, the five-minute PK in the first period was a stabilizer and momentum builder for the Flyers after a very rough start to the game. In the shootout, both Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny had the game on their sticks but were denied. Finally Nelson converted his attempt to end the game. Unfortunately, with the Boston Bruins' winning, the Flyers dropped to six points behind the fourth-place team in the East Division standings. The shootout progressed as follows:
* 1st round: Hart stayed with Eberle, moving right and denied him. Couturier went forehand, backhand, forehand but was stuffed at the left post by the skate.
* 2nd round: Hart stopped Beauvillier 5-hole attempt. Nolan Patrick was denied by Sorokin's glove.
* 3rd round: Hart waited out Barzal, stopping his backhander. Giroux had his backhander denied after faking a between-the-legs shot and moving left.
* 4th round: Josh Bailey missed a backhander over the net. Sorokin made a tough stick save on Konecny.
* 5th round: Nelson went off-the-post and in on the forehand. Joel Farabee attempted unsuccessfully to find five-hole space.
1) Giving up a goal within two minutes of yielding/scoring one has been a season-long bugaboo for the Flyers, and it reared its ugly head again early in the first period of this game. At 6:10, Ryan Pulock swooped behind the net, Nelson eluded coverage in the slot and scored. At 7:13, Ivan Provorov fell down while handling the puck, and turned it over. Eberle scored point-blank off a pass out from Leo Komarov.
2) A five-minute penalty kill after a questionable boarding major and game misconduct on Samuel Morin at 7:27 after finishing a hit on Casey Cizikas with a shove into the boards (Cizikas left the ice briefly but then returned). A strong kill by the Flyers, who had three shorthanded scoring chances including a Michael Raffl breakaway, was a momentum turning point. Philadelphia was the better team the rest of the period.
At 13:53, the Flyers got a gift. An Aube-Kubel shoot-in was going wide but was misplayed by Sorokin, going off his blocker, off the knob of his stick and into the net.to make it a 2-1 game. The unassisted tally ended a 22-game goalless stretch for NAK. Later, Joel Farabee had a tie game on his stick. Flipped a backhander off the right post after coming up with the loose puck in the crease.
3) The Flyers had a much crisper start to the second period than they did in the first. It paid off at 3:22. An initial defensive zone outlet from Hägg to Konecny turned into a 2-on-1 after Konecny made a gorgeous pass to Giroux. Making a backhanded feed off the rush, Giroux put it on the tape for Voracek, who snapped the puck home from the right hash mark. The Flyers had the better of the play until the Islander made a push midway through the period. Philly then resumed an edge over the latter portion. Overall, the Flyers had an 8-6 shot on goal edge in the frame (tied 15-15 through two periods) and a territorial edge.
4) The Flyers maintained a tight PK box and kept the Islanders at bay on a Hägg tripping penalty at 15:15. Hart made a great save on Anthony Beauvillier off the rush after the young Islander beat Shayne Gostisbehere off the rush. Kevin Hayes created the Flyers' first power play of the game, but the Philadelphia power play generated very little pressure.
5) The third period was rather methodical and grind-it-out on both sides over the first 13 minutes. Sorokin made a pair of saves during a scramble around his net by the Couturier line, but the Flyers created a power play from it and then generated heavy pressure during a lengthy delayed call. The ensuing power play generated one great chance among four shots on goal: a Farabee redirect of a Voracek feed. Shortly thereafter, Hägg continued his strong game by snuffing out a 2-on-1 rush for New York. Third period shots were 10-6 Flyers (25-21 Flyers through regulation).