The New York Islanders fell 6-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center.
The score got out of hand early, as the Islanders fell behind 5-0 in the first period of what was a critical game in the Eastern Conference playoff race. While the Islanders (82 points) lost their third straight game in regulation, the Boston Bruins (88 points), Tampa Bay Lightning (85 points) and Carolina Hurricanes (84 points) all won. The Flyers (82 points) also caught the Islanders in the standings with the victory.
"They took it to us and it was just an awful period," Johnny Boychuk said. "We have to be ready every period of every game, especially at this time of year fighting for playoffs."
If there was a worst-case scenario to start the game, the Islanders lived it, falling behind 5-0 before the end of the first period.
Dale Weise opened the scoring at 4:30 of the first period, finishing a two-on-one with Sean Couturier by chipping the puck up high on Thomas Greiss. From there the goals piled up quickly. Greiss kicked a rebound right to Couturier that he buried at 5:49 while Radko Gudas scored a long-range wrister at 8:06, ending Greiss' night. Jaroslav Halak stopped 19-of-21 shots in relief.
The goaltending change and a Travis Hamonic-Weise scrap didn't change the momentum, as Jordan Weal potted a rebound to make it 4-0 at 9:19 of the first period. True to Murphy's Law, Hamonic left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return after the fight.
Wayne Simmonds made it 5-0 before the end of the period, as Shayne Gostisbehere's shot hit Simmonds in front, then caromed off Boychuk and past Halak.
"It was disappointing really. Embarrassing," John Tavares said of the first period. "We just were soft. We just gave up way too much time and space."
Video: NYI@PHI: Clutterbuck nets his 100th career goal
Cal Clutterbuck's 100th career goal put the Islanders on the board early in the second, but that's all the offense they'd muster in the period, despite outshooting the Flyers 22-3 in the frame.
Jason Chimera made it 5-2 to start the third, potting his 18th goal of the season at the side of the net. Chimera dropped the gloves with Brandon Manning later in the period, the third fight of the night after Anders Lee and Simmonds squared off at the end of the first period. Andrew Ladd made it 5-3 with 3:58 to play, but Valtteri Filppula's empty-netter iced the game.
Video: NYI@PHI: Chimera buries loose puck off the boards
Andrew Ladd made it 5-3 with 3:58 to play, but Valtteri Filppula's empty-netter iced the game.
"Just try to forget about the loss. We did good things in the second and third period, but the first period wasn't good at all," Boychuk said. "If you can take a positive out of the last two periods and try to bring it for tomorrow to start the game."
Video: NYI@PHI: Ladd tallies from the right circle
The Islanders play the second game in a back-to-back set on Friday night, as they return home to face the New Jersey Devils at Barclays Center. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m.