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Split-Squad Recap: Flyers 3, Isles 2 OT

Lee, Barzal each score in preseason loss at PPL Center

by Alan Fuehring @AlanFuehring / Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Anders Lee forced overtime in the final 24 seconds of regulation in Wednesday's split-squad exhibition game in Allentown, Penn., but the New York Islanders fell to the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2, at PPL Center. 

Mathew Barzal also found the back of the net for the second time this preseason, scoring a power-play goal less than two minutes into the first period. On the flip side, Shayne Gostisbehere logged the game-winner 53 seconds into the extra session. 

Power-play opportunities accounted for all three of the four tallies in regulation including two in the middle frame for Flyers forward Taylor Leier. Between the pipes, Christopher Gibson played all three periods for the Islanders and finished the night with 27 saves.  

"I loved the first period and of course our resiliency late in the game as well," Islanders Associate Head Coach Greg Cronin said. "I thought we put pressure on the puck early and your goal as a team is to sustain that. We lost a little bit of that in the second period but it was a great, gutsy way to come back and tie it."

Barzal and the Islanders' power play took advantage of two early slashing minors against Philadelphia to open the scoring just 1:56 into the game. Following infractions to Pascal Laberge and Corban Knight, Josh Ho-Sang received a pass from Ryan Pulock and filtered a diagonal feed to Barzal below the left hash marks, where the youngster buried a one-time shot.

The Flyers bounced back in the middle frame with two power-play goals from Leier to take a 2-1 lead. Leier's first came just 36 seconds in when he finished a two-on-one rush with Brock Nelson in the box for holding. The latter was slapped in from the right circle at the 16:24 mark after Ross Johnston was called for slashing.

With the clock winding down in the third, Cronin opted to pull Gibson for the extra attacker and his decision paid off. Nelson found Lee at the doorstep for his first tally of exhibition play. 

"It was good hardworking effort by our team," Lee said. "I thought we had a lot of good offensive zone play and it was great bounce back and force overtime after some mistakes in the middle of the game." 

The Islanders finished the game 3-for-5 on the penalty kill and 1-for-6 on the power play.

BARZAL BURIES AGAIN

Mathew Barzal continued to shine in preseason play on Wednesday when he scored his second goal in three exhibition games. The Islanders' 16th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft also notched the game-tying goal in the Isles overtime win against the Flyers on Sunday at NYCB Live. He was named the third star of the game.

"Matt's a great player," Cronin said. "He's visible because he has the puck a lot. The thing I like the most about him, same as Josh Ho-sang, is they compete to get pucks back. They are so noticeable because they are puck possession players and their competitiveness to get the puck back is really important in helping them grow."

FREE HOCKEY

Wednesday's split-squad game in Pennsylvania was the third time the Islanders have gone to overtime this preseason, and that does not include the rookie game against the Flyers one week ago. The club is 2-0-2 in those four games combined. 

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