Once again, the Flyers brought a buzz saw into Nassau.
Five different players scored as the Flyers closed to within five points of the second wild card after beating the Islanders, 5-2, Saturday night for their second win over New York in six days (see standings).
Here are my observations:
• In his first game back from missing two games with an injury, Jakub Voracek had a very eventful first period, mostly positive. He was physical on the backcheck in separating Mathew Barzal from the puck. Voracek was also assessed a five-minute major for interference early in the third period, only because Johnny Boychuk was seriously injured on the play (see story).
However, Voracek overextended his shift in the first period, throwing a puck into the middle of the ice, creating a turnover with the Flyers' fourth line on the ice. The Islanders scored a goal on a redirected shot as a result of Voracek’s turnover.
But Voracek’s strength comes in the form of puck possession, driving hard into the offensive zone, and on two different occasions it led to Flyers goals.
The first one came in the final seconds of the first period, which allowed James van Riemsdyk's rebound goal in front of the crease.
Voracek’s second assist teed up Sean Couturier’s one-time shot and goal. For Voracek, he has eight assists in his last five games.
Voracek with the pass, Coots with the snipe! pic.twitter.com/aGYB7BKOvH— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 10, 2019
• The early gauge on newcomer Ryan Hartman is that he’s wildly inconsistent. He’s shown a physical presence, but doesn’t deliver with every shift.
He’s been out of position defensively at times, but his biggest liability has been a high frequency for the penalty box. He was whistled for a completely unnecessary tripping penalty, but his first goal with the Flyers was a strong, hard-driving play that the Flyers need to see more of.
HARTMAN!— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 10, 2019
His first goal as a Flyers ties it up! pic.twitter.com/OA2ew3IlcN
• Don’t you love karma? Remember when the whistle blew early, disallowing a goal in that critical game against the Penguins?
Well, the Islanders now know that feeling as a potential 5-on-3 goal was not to be with a premature whistle. It was the Islanders' real chance at getting back into the game down 4-1 at that point.
• Brian Elliott was splendid in a good bounce-back game following a bad performance against the Capitals. It will be interesting moving forward to see who gets the start against Ottawa, which despite its record, has been playing its opponents tough lately. Doesn’t sound like interim head coach Scott Gordon will turn to Carter Hart for that game.
• How about these numbers:
The Flyers shot 60 percent in the second period with three goals on just five shots on net.
And the Flyers now have three or more goals in seven straight games, their longest such streak of the season. They’re averaging 4.3 goals in that span.
• I don’t see how the Islanders make it out of the first round of the playoffs. In fact, I’ll contend the Flyers would provide a stronger first-round opponent than the Isles would.
Impressively, four of the Flyers' first five goals came in transition as New York had gaping holes and awful gaps in its defense.
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