The New York Islanders earned a split in their split-squad games against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.
John Tavares, Anders Lee and Kirill Petrov powered the Islanders to a 3-2 win over the Flyers at Barclays Center, while James Wright, Alan Quine and Justin Vaive scored in a 5-3 loss to the Flyers in Allentown, Penn.
Tavares put the Islanders ahead 1-0 with a power-play goal at the end of the first period, crashing the net and knocking in a Josh Bailey feed past Jason LaBarbera at 19:04. The Islanders outshot the Flyers 14-3 in the opening frame.
The Islanders power play struck again in the second period, as Anders Lee redirected a Tavares shot through LaBarbera’s five-hole at 3:25. Kirill Petrov put the Islanders ahead 3-0, beating Merrick Madsen with a nifty backhand deke in tight at 13:09.
“Sometimes you just go out there and trust your instincts, make some plays, shoot the puck and good things happen,” Tavares said of the Islanders two power-play goals. “It’s always good to capitalize when you get those chances and build some confidence early.”
After facing three shots in the first period, Jaroslav Halak stopped nine-of-10 shots in the second period. His shutout bid was broken by Taylor Leier in the final minute of the middle frame. Halak, who was only scheduled to play two periods, finished his night with 12 saves.
Brayden Schenn pulled the Flyers within one 1:33 into the third period, but that’s as close as Philadelphia would come. Stephon Williams stopped three-of-four shots in the third period, as the Islanders held on for the preseason win.
Despite the 3-2 final, the Islanders and Flyers played a league-mandated, 3-on-3 OT trail. Capuano put Tavares out with defenseman Nick Leddy and 2015 first-rounder Mathew Barzal at the start of OT, though the lines varied. At times, three forwards – Tavares, Lee and Mikhail Grabovski – were out for the Islanders and both teams traded chances.
“It was different,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “I can see how games in the AHL – over 50 percent of them – ended. You just have to try and find the right matchups and how you want to utilize certain guys. We have a couple of games to figure it out.”
After the game, Capuano said he was evaluating players by their individual efforts rather than the final score. Johnny Boychuk played like his usual self, throwing the body and blocking shots, Cal Clutterbuck threw seven hits and Capuano praised Petrov for driving to the net and using his body.
“[We’re looking for] guys that compete, guys that want it,” Capuano said. “Guys that are tough to play against. We have to create an identity and an environment that we want to build off last year. Some guys are doing it right now; you can’t go through the motions. There’s too much competition here at camp.”
In Allentown, the Islanders kept things close with the Flyers, but never held a lead in the loss. Wright’s goal tied the game at one, Quine’s goal tied the game 2-2 and Vaive’s goal tied the contest 3-3, but Claude Giroux scored the game-winner in the third period. Brett Bellemore added an empty-netter to ice the contest.
The Islanders return to Barclays Center Wednesday night for a preseason date with the New Jersey Devils. Wednesday’s game will be broadcast on MSG+. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.