Tortorella says Flyers learned a hard lesson in loss to Islanders


The Flyers were not sharp Monday night after an eight-day layoff.

John Tortorella's club returned from the All-Star break with a 2-1 loss to the Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center.

New York, one of the NHL's better defensive clubs, didn't make things easy. But the Flyers also had real difficulty finishing and seemed out of sync.

"We're going to find out about some people when we start playing these games here in the checking part of it," Tortorella said. "Because teams are going to ramp that up. It's going to be really interesting to see how guys react.

"Both teams had a break. You don't use rust or anything like that, I'm not going to use that as an excuse. We just didn't finish off offensive plays. We have been of late. Didn't tonight."

Nicolas Deslauriers scored for the Flyers (21-22-9), who were back in Philadelphia to kick off a four-game homestand. The fourth-line winger Deslauriers redirected a Tony DeAngelo shot to draw the Flyers within 2-1 during the second period.

The Flyers' power play was a costly 0 for 2 and went quietly on a third-period opportunity.

Over the last two days, Tortorella has reiterated patience with his team's growth. But the Flyers had gone 10-4-2 since the holiday break to gain some steam and wanted to start this homestand better.

"You have a little success, you find ways to win games different ways, I think it builds the belief," the head coach said Monday morning. "Belief is a very powerful thing if you get it to go from one guy to another and then you get it to a group. I'm hoping that's the way they feel."


New York's big trade acquisition Bo Horvat made his Islanders debut and went scoreless.

The Flyers are 1-2-0 against the Islanders (26-22-5) this season. The clubs meet once more April 8 in Elmont, New York.

• Coming off of his 40-save shutout nine days ago, Carter Hart put up 28 saves against the Islanders.

He did his job.

Mathew Barzal, over a point-per-game player in his career against the Flyers (27 points in 26 games), extended New York's lead to 2-0 with a second-period marker. It turned out to be the game-winner.

"They’re a good hockey team," Deslauriers said. "I think we’re as good as them. We just didn’t play the right way a couple times. I think that second goal is just our mistake. We didn’t give them much, but we gave them opportunity to capitalize, especially on that second one."

Hart stopped 14 shots in the first period before the Islanders cracked him with 2:53 minutes left in the opening stanza. Kyle Palmieri beat Hart on New York's second power play opportunity.

"We had it fed to us the first period," Tortorella said.

Islanders backup Semyon Varlamov stopped 25 of the Flyers' 26 shots.

• A couple of veteran forwards didn't help the Flyers' cause with penalties.

"There were too many penalties early in the game," Tortorella said. "You take a couple when you're just starting back in, you can't get any flow on your bench."

Kevin Hayes committed a pair (delay of game and hooking) and finished with a minus-1 rating. The hooking infraction came in the second period after Deslauriers' goal.

"Kevin's was one when I thought our flow was there and to take a neutral-zone hooking penalty on really a nothing play," Tortorella said. "Kevin was tired, it was late in his shift. I'm not going to blame it on that, but that one there, the third one, I just thought we were getting our flow and then we take one there in the neutral zone really on a nothing play."

New York went 1 for 3 on the power play as it scored on Scott Laughton's interference penalty in the first period. Laughton was a minus-1, as well.

The Flyers rely a lot on their All-Star (Hayes) and alternate captain (Laughton). When they're not at their best in the same game, the Flyers are going to feel it.

"They get a lead, they've got veteran people and they know how to check," Tortorella said of the Islanders. "It's a hard team to play against. They played harder. It's a lesson learned by us."

• With Zack MacEwen out because of a fractured jaw, Kieffer Bellows is getting a look on the Flyers' fourth line.


"If he plays and we feel he stays in the lineup, we'll see what he is," Tortorella said Monday morning. "If not, then there's other people we'll look at also. ... He'll kind of make his call for us as far as how he plays."

The 24-year-old showed his strengths in the club's 4-0 win over the Jets right before the break, scoring his first goal as a Flyer. It was his first game with the big club in 40-plus days.

"I think it's a good chance for me to really showcase myself," Bellows said Monday morning about the opportunity ahead. "Just go out there and play the right way, play to the systems and be the player that I am. I felt I did a good job of showing that in Winnipeg and I want to do that tonight."

Against his former team the Islanders, Bellows went scoreless but was a plus-1 and had two shots in six-plus minutes.

• After missing the final game before the break because of a lower-body injury, Wade Allison returned to the lineup.

He skated on the third line with Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost.

• The homestand continues Thursday when the Flyers welcome two-time Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid and the Oilers (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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