For the first time in 147 days, the Philadelphia Flyers met with the New York Islanders. This is the first time they’ve met since the second round of 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.It’s also the first half of a weekend back to back series. Tonight’s game welcomed some new and old faces into the lineup. Phil Myers was activated off the Injured Reserve and was paired back with Travis Sanheim. Samuel Morin was activated off of the Taxi Squad and made his season debut for the Flyers, as well as his debut playing left wing.
Voracek kicked off the scoring for the Flyers on a nifty give and go with Claude Giroux in the first period to give Philadelphia the early lead. Kevin Hayes got his fourth goal of the season after a beautiful passing sequence between himself, van Riemsdyk and Provorov. Arguably the best period of the season, the Flyers swarmed upon the Islanders whenever they touched the puck.
The second period took a momentum swing, as the New York Islanders decided to control the play and the Flyers decided to forget how to play defense. Jordan Eberle got the Islanders on the board on a defensive breakdown by the Flyers to erase the Flyers 2-0 deficit. Minutes later, Scott Mayfield took a shot from the point that found its way past Carter Hart. The Islanders would end up scoring 2 unanswered goals to send this game into the final frame all tied up.
The third period was much like the second with the Islanders controlling much of the play. The Flyers only had 4 shots on goal during that entire frame. Luckily, the Flyers were able to hold on and send this game to overtime. With the patience of Scott Laughton, the Flyers prevailed over the Islanders in overtime.
Leadership Wake Up Call
With the benching of Travis Konecny, Alain Vigneault challenged the leadership of this team to step. The first and second line were nonexistent during the second Devils game.
The leadership of this group answered their coach’s call and produced in last night’s game. Giroux, Voracek, Hayes and van Riemsdyk all combined for 4 points and drove the play throughout the game. The four players mentioned played the most complete game that they have played all season. They were playing confident and patient which in turn would help them make the right plays throughout the game.
After tonight’s efforts throughout the second and third periods, expect more changes to this lineup. The lack of effort on the defensive and neutral zone was tough to watch and these players need to make better decisions.
Penalty Kill Versus 5 on 5 Play
Philadelphia’s Penalty Kill seemed to be the most productive lines that Alain Vigneault and company could put together last night. The PK was able to shut down the Islanders four times during the entirety of the game. The goose egg for the Islanders was due to the Flyers playing a lot of keep away while they were a man short.
It wasn’t like last year when Kevin Hayes would skate around with the puck for 20-30 seconds at a time, but the Flyers kept passing the puck and spreading out the ice as an entire unit. When it came to five-on-five play, it seemed like the Flyers weren’t clicking with that fifth man on the ice.
Lots of missed passes and passes that were out of reach led to defensive breakdowns which led to the Islanders erasing the lead. This has been mentioned throughout the entire season, the Flyers need to get better at five-on-five play if they want to contend for the Stanley Cup.
In Hart We Trust
Game in and game out, this has been the case way too much. The Flyers obtain a lead in the game and somehow discover new ways to allow the opposing team to crawl back into it. If it weren’t for Carter Hart, the Flyers should have lost this game 6-2 instead of picking up the two points in the extra minutes of overtime.
The Islanders didn’t take as many shots on net as other opponents this team has seen, but they still were able to out shoot the Flyers 28-17. There weren’t any highlight saves to write home about, but Hart stood tall in the blue paint and kept this team from receiving a loss.
Hart stole this game from the Islanders in a game where it didn’t seem possible. In the second half of this back to back, AV confirmed that Brian Elliott will get the start against the Islanders. When called upon, Elliott has played well. Expect another tight game against the Flyers and Islanders.
The Flyers should have never allowed New York to crawl back into this game. When the second period started, Philadelphia should have shut them down and continued playing the game they had forgotten about in the first. There isn’t much time for improvements as the Flyers take on the Islanders less than 24 hours from now, once again at the Wells Fargo.
Per Alain Vigneault, Travis Konecny will slot back into the lineup tomorrow night. Does this mean there will be different line combinations or will he replace Sam Morin? Flyers will have to keep grinding and finding different ways to score goals against this tough Islanders team led by Barry Trotz.
Photo Credit – Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire