The New York Islanders hit the halfway mark of the season on a losing note Thursday night, as they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Coliseum.
The loss ended the Islanders three-game home winning streak and extended their struggles against their division rival. The score wasn’t favorable to the Isles, but they out-hit and out-shot the Flyers, the latter by a wide margin.
“It’s obviously really frustrating when we play as well as we did,” said Andrew MacDonald
. “When we play them, we don’t always play that well. I think if we continue to play the way we did tonight, we are going to have some more success.”
Sergei Bobrovsky had the hot hand, stopping 33 of 35 shots on the evening. Bobrovsky turned aside several quality tips through traffic from the Islanders, but his best moments came against Michael Grabner
Grabner showcased his speed on a short-handed rush early in the game and was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked by Kimmo Timonen. Grabner aimed low on the stick-side, but the Russian netminder was equal to the task. Grabner had a chance at redemption midway through the second period, but Bobrovsky bested the Austrian forward for a second time, flashing the leather off a high backhand.
“He made some unbelievable saves on Grabner,” Captain Mark Streit
said. “We had a penalty shot in the first period and he makes a really good save and it gives him a lot of confidence.”
Sean Couturier scored the game-winner late in the third, firing a wrist shot high glove side on Evgeni Nabokov
. Couturier put the Flyers up 3-1 with a minute and a half remaining in the game, but John Tavares
pulled the Islanders within one with 15 seconds remaining on the clock.
Nabokov made 19 saves in total, surrendering goals to Couturier, Wayne Simmonds (2nd period) and a power-play goal to Scott Hartnell (1st period).
“If you want to look back at the game, they got a power-play goal and we didn’t,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said.
Tonight’s game featured three players selected to play in this season’s All-Star Game. Tavares, the Isles leading point scorer, Flyers forward Claude Giroux and defenseman Timonen will participate in this years’ festivities Jan. 27-29 in Ottawa.
The Isles home-stand continues Saturday night when the Buffalo Sabres visit Long Island. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. Thursday’s attendance was 11,751.