Flyers-Islanders observations: Losing streak reaches 7 with another OTL

Flyers-Islanders observations: Losing streak reaches 7 with another OTL


The losing streak rolls on.

The Flyers, after the Islanders fought back from a two-goal deficit, lost their seventh straight game Friday with a 5-4 overtime loss to New York at the Wells Fargo Center.

Nick Leddy scored the game-winner with 2:16 remaining in overtime.

Once again, the Flyers' top line did most of the heavy lifting as Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek each had multi-point games.

Giroux reached 600 career points, tying him with Rod Brind’Amour for eighth on the Flyers' all-time list.

It was the 11th straight season that the Flyers have played their Black Friday game on home ice.

• Once again, the Flyers coughed up a two-goal lead in the third period. Andrew Ladd somehow had a wide-open look right in front of Brian Elliott, as no one picked up Jordan Eberle behind the net. Brandon Manning and Travis Sanheim had net-front presence, but they couldn’t get a stick on Ladd or deflect the centering pass.

• Somehow Voracek got nailed in the third period for hooking Islanders captain John Tavares, who attempted to pull Voracek down on the same play. It elicited a strong reaction from the crowd. It appeared as if both players were fighting for the loose puck, but Tavares was the guilty party.

• After jumping out of the box after serving a matching minor, Travis Konecny caught a high-arcing pass and skated in on a backhanded breakaway, where he could have drawn a penalty shot as he was hooked from behind. Konecny nearly beat Thomas Greiss with a backhand and even had a rebound attempt.

• An unfortunate sequence for the Flyers, as Robert Hagg completely whiffed on a puck that was bouncing around on the ice. Eberle corralled it just to the right of Elliott, got his blade completely under the puck and elevated it just under the crossbar to cut the Flyers' lead to 4-3 in the third.

• Brandon Manning, in the third period, completely lost track of Jason Chimera, who flew down the left side of the ice on a pass from Casey Cizikas. The Islanders' fourth line was a real problem for the Flyers.

• A big blast from Giroux tied the game at 1-1, but it was a nice job by Hagg to step up on the play, which didn't allow the Islanders to break out of the zone. Somehow, the puck squirted right to Giroux, who blasted a one-time shot from the high slot that Greiss had no shot at. Last season, Giroux didn't score his 10th goal until Dec. 21.

• A bad goal given up by the Flyers saw the Islanders' fourth line tie the game at two. The play started when Scott Laughton left a backhanded pass a little short, allowing the Islanders to drive the play deep into the Flyers' end. Eventually, it was Cal Clutterbuck who redirected a shot from the point that Elliott had little shot of stopping.

• Danick Martel had a terrific one-handed pass to Laughton in the second period for a scoring chance down low. I wasn’t sure about Martel trying to squeeze through a pair of Islanders defenders, but somehow with his lightning-quick acceleration, he managed to knife his way through and make a play out of it.

• The Flyers broke a 2-2 tie on a delayed penalty call after Samuel Morin provided a big hit along the boards that allowed the puck to squirt free through the neutral zone. I liked the patience Giroux showed, as he waited for Shayne Gostisbehere to fill the slot and score from the high danger area. 

• The Flyers added another goal just 19 seconds later when Voracek caught Greiss by surprise with a hard-charging forecheck. Voracek had the presence of mind to quickly pass the puck in front to Couturier, who had nothing but a wide-open net after Greiss came out to play the puck.

• The Flyers scored all four goals in a span of 8:41, marking the second time this season they’ve scored four goals in a single period.

• A deflating ending to the opening period, as the Islanders scored with Mathew Barzal, the electrifying first-round pick of 2015, batting the puck out of the air that actually deflected off his pants, off the back of Elliott’s pads and into the net. Barzal was left alone with a breakdown in coverage between Gostisbehere and Morin, who were both caught on the left side of the ice. Valtteri Filppula nearly kept it out of the net.

• A solid opening penalty kill for the Flyers, who kept the Islanders around the perimeter for a good chunk of the two minutes. The Flyers came into this game having allowed seven power-play goals in their last three contests. Interestingly, Taylor Leier, who was part of the No. 1 PK unit with Laughton, wasn’t out there as Dave Hakstol has elected to switch up the personnel.

• A rough shift for Ivan Provorov midway through the first period, as he committed a bad turnover right on the stick to Scott Mayfield and was outworked by Brock Nelson, who worked the puck away from Provorov as the Islanders' third line gave the Flyers' top line some issues.

• Martel is a little bundle of energy and never appears to stop scrapping for pucks. That second line with Martel, Nolan Patrick and Simmonds played a strong opening period, which included Martel’s pass to Patrick that led to a Patrick penalty shot. However, the 5-foot-9 Martel got crushed by John Tavares along the boards. He needs to develop a little more grease in his game to avoid some of those big hits.

• Patrick elected to go backhand on Greiss on his penalty shot, but the Flyers' rookie didn’t commit until too late and Greiss wasn’t forced to move too far laterally. Patrick’s shot was about a foot wide of the left post.

Lines, pairings and scratches
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Danick Martel-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Valtteri Filppula-Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Jordan Weal

Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Brandon Manning-Travis Sanheim
Samuel Morin-Shayne Gostisbehere

Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Jori Lehtera, Radko Gudas, Dale Weise

Flyers stunned by their effort in bad loss at bad time

Flyers stunned by their effort in bad loss at bad time


DETROIT — The Flyers brought a cold engine to the Motor City and it took a good 40 minutes to finally get it started.

Sure, Dave Hakstol’s team rallied back from a two-goal deficit Tuesday to earn a point at a time when every point is critical, but losing a 5-4 shootout to a fragile Detroit team is unacceptable and unexplainable (see observations).

“Maybe we thought it was going to be an easy game,” Sean Couturier said. “We didn’t play the right way. We didn’t play hard. We wasted 40 minutes. We came back and got a big point, but we can’t be wasting time at this time of the year.”

On a night when the Flyers could have officially eliminated the Red Wings from postseason contention, they turned back the clock and made this Detroit team look more like the juggernaut that won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships 20 years ago. 

At least through the first two periods.

“The second period was god-awful,” defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. “We really didn’t help our cause out. We weren’t pushing plays and we just weren’t battling out there. You saw in the third what we could do when we light a fire under our ass. It’s tough like that when you dig yourself a hole and you come back, you expend a lot of energy. The positive we can take is that we got a point out of it.”

You may have never known this was the same Red Wings team that, like the Flyers in the first half of the season, had dropped 10 straight with an 0-9-1 record. Detroit had been outscored a whopping 41-19 from Feb. 28-March 18.

The Red Wings had also returned from a four-game Western Conference road trip less than 48 hours prior to the opening faceoff.

With eight games remaining on the Flyers' schedule, Hakstol is also mired in a goaltending dilemma. Petr Mrazek was rescued from Detroit to be the savior in Philadelphia following injuries to Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth. 

After winning his first three starts, Mrazek’s numbers reek of mediocrity: a 2-5-1 record, 3.72 GAA and an .860 save percentage. Most recently, he’s been pulled in favor of Alex Lyon in two of his last three games.

“The second one is a bad-angle goal,” Hakstol said. “Obviously, he wants that one back, but we gave up a number of opportunities that he was very strong on.”

Mrazek was pulled from the game at 3-1, and before heading to the locker room, he expressed his disappointment with the coaching staff over a non-goaltender interference call during the Red Wings' third goal.

“I talked to Coach and I was just wondering about the goalie interference because someone had bumped in there during the shot,” Mrazek said. “It wasn’t anything like I was mad or something that I got pulled. I was just asking him if there was a goalie interference or not.”

The Flyers' shootout loss coupled with the Blue Jackets' ninth straight victory now drops the orange and black into wild-card territory (see standings).

If this is indeed a playoff team, it needs to repair what’s under the hood and fix it fast.

Panthers rout Senators after death of Karlsson's son

USA Today Images

Panthers rout Senators after death of Karlsson's son

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Jared McCann had a goal and two assists to lead the Florida Panthers over the Senators 7-2 on Tuesday night as Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson sat out following the death of his son.

The team announced the death of Karlsson's son before the game. Erik and Melinda Karlsson were married last year and announced in November they were expecting their first child in the spring. The team released a statement offering its "collective thoughts and prayers" and requested privacy for the family.

Keith Yandle, Nick Bjugstad, Evgeni Dadonov, Jamie McGinn and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and an assist for Florida. Colton Sceviour had the other goal while James Reimer made 33 saves.

Patrick Sieloff and Marian Gaborik scored for the Senators, who lost their second straight. Craig Anderson started in goal but was replaced by Mike Condon after allowing four goals on 17 shots. Condon made 19 saves (see full recap).

Blue Jackets extend win streak to 9
NEW YORK -- Artemi Panarin had three goals and an assist, Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves and the Columbus Blue Jackets extended their winning streak to nine games with a 5-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.

Markus Nutivaara and Alexander Wennberg also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have surged into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It is Columbus' longest winning streak since its 16-game run last season from Nov. 29, 2016, to Jan. 3, 2017.

Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad scored power-play goals and Kevin Hayes had a short-handed goal for the Rangers.

Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves in his first start since March 10 against Florida. Lundqvist was briefly shaken up when Matt Calvert upended him and knocked his helmet off with five minutes remaining.

With Columbus leading 3-2 in the third period, Lundqvist made a nice save as Cam Atkinson drove toward the net, but Panarin poked the puck free and in for his 24th goal at 11:19.

Kreider scored his 14th with 1:52 remaining to get the Rangers to 4-3.

Panarin added an empty-netter for the hat trick and his 25th of the season (see full recap).

Islanders jump all over Pens to snap skid
NEW YORK -- Mathew Barzal and Adam Pelech scored in the first period and the New York Islanders went on to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Anders Lee had a goal in the third period and Jordan Eberle added an empty-netter to help the Islanders snap a three-game skid with just their second win in 13 games (2-7-4).

Christopher Gibson, pulled in his last start after giving up five goals on 12 shots against Washington last Thursday, stopped 36 shots and has both wins for New York in its recent stretch.

Conor Sheary scored for Pittsburgh, which was 5-1-1 in its previous seven but fell four points behind first-place Washington in the tight Metropolitan Division. Columbus pulled into a tie with the Penguins for second at 87 points -- Pittsburgh holds the tiebreaker over the Blue Jackets.

Matt Murray, returning after missing nine games due to a concussion, finished with 36 saves for the Penguins (see full recap).