Opening their April schedule, the Philadelphia Flyers dropped a shootout decision to the New York Islanders, 3-2 (1-0), at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday evening. The Flyers by far had the better of puck possession for two-plus periods but had only a 2-0 deficit to show for it. A two-goal comeback led by Flyers captain Claude Giroux sent the game to overtime, but the Flyers lost in a four round shootout.
Anthony Beauvillier (PPG, 7th goal of the season) notched the only goal of the first period. Beauvillier struck a second time in the middle frame (8th), this time at 5-on-5. Giroux (10th) narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the opening half of the third period, and fired home his second of the game (11th) less than four minutes later.
After a scoreless overtime, the game moved to a shootout. None among Sean Couturier (goal post), Nolan Patrick, Giroux or Jakub Voracek were able to score for the Flyers. Jordan Eberle, Beauvillier and Oliver Wahlstrom were unable to score for New York in the first three rounds before Mathew Barzal scored what proved to be the game-winner in the fourth round.
Carter Hart, who had struggled throughout March, played an excellent game in goal for the Flyers on this night; even better, in fact, that his 22 saves on 24 shots in regulation and overtime seem on paper. He went through long stretches where he didn't see any shots but he stepped up when needed with some tough saves and had little chance on the two that went in.
Ilya Sorokin was also strong for the Islanders, as he was in New York's recent 2-1 overtime win in Philadelphia. On this night, he stopped 30 of 32 shots before going 4-for-4 in shootout saves.
The Flyers went 0-for-3 on the power play, including a failed 5-on-3. Philly was 4-for-5 on the PK.
Tanner Laczynski made his NHL debut for the Flyers in this game. Oskar Lindblom and Nolan Patrick returned to the Flyers' lineup after sitting out Wednesday's game in Buffalo. Shayne Gostisbehere was also back in the Philadelphia lineup.
The forechecking of Travis Konecny and the backhand and forehand finishes made by Claude Giroux keyed the Flyers' third period comeback. In the shootout, Sorokin got a little payback as he was seemingly beaten by Giroux -- which would have won the game had the Flyers scored -- but recovered to kick out his pad and make a great save. Barzal scored blocker side in the next round.
1) The Flyers had five of the game's first seven shots on goal and a 10-3 (actually should have been 10-4) lead for the period. Shot attempts were 20-8 in the Flyers' favor. Sam Morin dropped the gloves early with Ross Johnston and came out ahead in a good bout, knocking Johnston to the ice.
The Flyers good overall at 5-on-5. Nonetheless, they took a 1-0 deficit to the first intermission. Special teams were the big difference, The Islanders made the Flyers pay for a Morin interference penalty. Later, the Flyers got very little going on a two-man advantage or the remaining 5-on-4 time. As play ticked down near the final minute, Nolan Patrick was unable to pot a chance at the doorstep.
2) Hart didn't see many shots in the first period in terms of quantity but every one that was on his net was a tester. He made tough back-to-back saves in close the first time the puck was on net, including a point-blank stop on Casey Cizikas. Later, he made a good glove save on an open Mathew Barzal with the Flyers caught on a line change. Hart had no chance on the Beauvillier power play goal; a tap-in from the left post after a back-handed cross-crease pass from Matt Martin got past Phil Myers. Beauvillier got away from Oskar Lindblom on the play.
3) The Flyers had a 10-7 shot on goal edge in the second period and 65% team Corsi through two periods at five-on-five but didn't really test Sorokin much (one high-danger chance). The closest the Flyers came to scoring was on a fluky play as Laczynski put the puck out in front and Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson accidentally swatted it on Sorokin, who made a shaky-looking stop. The Flyers' had a power play opportunity to draw even but once again struggled to get pucks through on the net, until the tail end of the advantage.
4) Hart made two tough stops on Oliver Wahlstrom in the period, and also denied defenseman Nick Leddy on a near end-to-end goal. The second Beauvillier goal started with multiple failed clears by the Flyers; ending with one by James van Riemsdyk and then an attempted flip by JVR that Joel Farabee swatted down but not out. At 15:43, Barzal feathered a pass to Beauvillier inside the left dot, near the hash marks, and Beavillier wired it past Hart.
5) A pair of penalty kills by the Flyers on Ivan Provorov minors proved to be vital. Notably, Vigneault entrusted Laczynski, in his NHL debut, with ice time on both kills. Hart came up with 11 saves in the third period, including several late ones. His glove was especially sharp. At 6:38, after a determined Konecny bulldozed Wahlstrom aside to win a puck battle on the boards, Giroux scored off the post and in on a backhanded shot. At 10:32, strong work behind the net by Konecny and a nice centering pass by Voracek to Giroux in the slot set the captain up for a bar-down tying goal. All three overtime shots belonged to the Islanders. The Islanders spent the final 15 seconds on a 4-on-3 power play after a ticky-tack slashing penalty was called on Travis Sanheim.