New York Islanders

Flyers suffer a loss to Islanders that is demoralizing on multiple levels as NHL playoff race gets tougher

Flyers suffer a loss to Islanders that is demoralizing on multiple levels as NHL playoff race gets tougher

BOX SCORE

Ouch.

The Flyers on Tuesday night stomached the type of loss that will sting until they play again Thursday. It might even sting the rest of the season.

After falling behind 3-0 during the first period and fighting like hell to tie things up with 1:32 left in regulation, the Flyers surrendered the game-winner 51 seconds later and fell to the Islanders, 5-3, at Barclays Center.

What makes the loss doubly demoralizing is that it came within the Metropolitan Division and the Flyers (31-19-7) missed out on an opportunity to take over third place from New York.

With 25 games remaining, the Flyers are clinging to the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot (see standings).

Right now, the Islanders (33-16-6) have two games in hand on the Flyers and lead them by three points. New York is the only team the Flyers have yet to beat in the division (0-2-1).

• The Flyers did nothing to help Brian Elliott in the first period, but the veteran goalie let them down on Ryan Pulock's goal with 41 seconds left. Although Pulock unleashed a nasty shot top shelf from the point, it's stoppable for Elliott and the Flyers.

The team's skaters expended so much energy coming back and New York capitalized over the final minute and a half to put the Flyers on their heels in the defensive zone.

The Islanders then iced the game with an empty-netter.

A point would have been so huge for the Flyers given how the game began. They left Brooklyn with no points and a punch to the gut.

• Sean Couturier scored the equalizer after the Flyers had two failed power plays in which the they came oh-so-close to knotting the score.

The way the Flyers scraped and clawed to dig out of the hole was commendable. The way the game was ripped right back away from them was crushing.

• The Flyers' first-period futility on the road reared its ugly head.

A night after the team's defensemen were sharp and steady, the blueliners had a world of troubles in the opening 20 minutes against New York.

The Islanders scored three goals. On the first by Josh Bailey, Matt Niskanen and Ivan Provorov were uncharacteristically poor in their own end. On the second by Matt Martin, Travis Sanheim had an untimely pinch with his defensive partner Philippe Myers already down in the offensive zone, which led to an odd-man rush the other way.

And on the third, Mathew Barzal made a sensational play to pick apart Niskanen and the Flyers, leading to Jordan Eberle's rebound opportunity.

The Flyers have allowed 44 first-period goals on the road, most in the NHL. The next worst are the Devils at 33. The starts to away games have been problematic all season and a big reason why the Flyers are 12-14-3 with a minus-25 goal differential outside of the Wells Fargo Center.

• In their defense, the Flyers never quit on games. They dominated the second period and received goals from Travis Konecny and Robert Hagg to make it a game. They actually controlled the third period, as well, until that final minute and a half.

Konecny is three points shy from setting a new career high with 50. Hagg has continued to play well. The status of Shayne Gostisbehere, who missed Monday's morning skate because he felt pain in his left knee, is uncertain. When he's fully healthy and up to speed, the Flyers will try to get him in the lineup, but the decisions are getting only tougher.

It wouldn't be overly surprising if Myers comes out of the lineup for Gostisbehere at some point.

• Joel Farabee was solid in his return from the flu, playing 15:38 and creating chances. He was his usual active self.

• Needing to bounce back, the Flyers fly to Florida Wednesday before taking on the Panthers again Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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Flyers at Islanders: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Islanders: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Updated: 5:15 p.m.

The Flyers have another chance to make a significant move in the standings.

In the second game of a back-to-back set for both teams, the Flyers (31-18-7) visit the Islanders (32-16-6) Tuesday.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Barclays Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• With 26 games left, they're all big at this point. But this one is particularly huge for a few reasons.

A win in regulation would push the Flyers into third place of the Metropolitan Division (see standings). The Flyers currently hold the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot and a 65.2 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Hockey-Reference.com.

The Flyers also have an unchecked box within the division. They have yet to take down the Islanders (0-1-1), while they've beaten every other divisional team.

To show their marked improvement, the Flyers have gone 10-3-4 within the division after going 10-16-2 against Metropolitan clubs last season. In 2018-19, the Flyers went winless against the Capitals, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets (0-10-2). This season, they're a combined 6-0-2 against those teams.

• The Islanders are 5-1-1 in the second game of back-to-back sets and allow the NHL's fewest goals per game in such contests (2.00).

• A few notes on Flyers defensemen:

• Joel Farabee will enter the lineup as Morgan Frost comes out. Here are some thoughts on the decision (see story).

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Joel Farabee-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Scott Laughton-Tyler Pitlick
Michael Raffl-Connor Bunnaman-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg-Justin Braun

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

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Yikes! Flyers choke away 3-0 third-period lead for shootout loss to Islanders

Yikes! Flyers choke away 3-0 third-period lead for shootout loss to Islanders

BOX SCORE

The Flyers choked away a 3-0 third-period lead Saturday night en route to a crushing 4-3 shootout loss at the hands of the Islanders.

The aftermath: an ugly and lost weekend.

Returning home to the Wells Fargo Center, head coach Alain Vigneault's team was in prime position to secure a noteworthy win following a befuddling letdown in Ottawa the night prior.

The Flyers wilted, though, in the final stanza, wasting away an opportunity for a quality win within the division. The Flyers (10-6-4) have lost three straight and gone to the shootout seven times this season because of blown leads and an inability to finish games.

After scoring two goals over their last two games, both losses, the Flyers were able to put up three on New York through two periods. The Islanders entered allowing the NHL's fewest goals per game at 2.29.

If only the Flyers kept their foot on the gas.

Give credit to the Islanders (14-3-1) for storming back and extending their point streak to 14 games (13-0-1). They took advantage of a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty in the third period and completely had the Flyers on their heels.

• The Flyers are at the 20-game mark and this was not how they wanted to reach it. While they look different this season, they are still maddeningly inconsistent at times.

Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes went scoreless against New York.

It's a good thing when others are producing, but the Flyers will need to get their big boys going with the others. It hasn't happened yet and the team's record reflects it.

• Brian Elliott came in and out of his crease quite often Saturday night. He had a weird game as he made some timely saves but fell flat in the third period.

That's when they really needed him.

• Oskar Lindblom has arguably been the Flyers' best forward 20 games into the year. The 23-year-old plays on both special teams units and has nine goals and seven assists.

Other NHL players with nine goals so far: Sebastian Aho, Filip Forsberg and Artemi Panarin.

Lindblom had a two-point effort Saturday, marking his third multi-point game of the season after having four all of last season.

He has run away with the opportunity given to him by Vigneault and company.

• The new line of Lindblom, Joel Farabee and Sean Couturier features plenty of intrigue.

The group opened the game's scoring just 1:38 into the action when Lindblom found Couturier, who had a two-point performance himself. The Flyers were 12-5-2 when Couturier had a multi-point game last season.

Lindblom, Couturier and Farabee combined for five points. It still wasn't enough, which is troubling.

• Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere have been flip-flopping on the first and second power play units. Provorov was moved off the first group in Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Senators.

"Provy started off, he had three turnovers in the first 10 minutes, made a switch," Vigneault said before Saturday night's game. "Ghost seemed to me that he was playing a little bit better. If you want to play, you’ve got to make the plays."

Provorov made one on the man advantage Saturday to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the opening frame. He has four goals and nine assists in 20 games. Last season, he had four goals and eight assists through 40 games. The addition of Matt Niskanen has been huge for the 22-year-old defenseman.

• A little over two hours before puck drop, Vigneault said the Flyers had lineup decisions to make regarding some players nursing minor injuries.

The club's full roster took warmups. Afterward, Philippe Myers and Carsen Twarynski were the scratches as Robert Hagg and Chris Stewart played in their spots.

It's uncertain why the Flyers went that route. Vigneault said postgame that both Myers and Twarynski were healthy.

Myers will be back in the lineup. The 22-year-old defenseman has been great with three goals, an assist and a plus-7 mark in eight games since being called up from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

Twarynski, a 21-year-old forward, is in a more precarious spot with Scott Laughton (broken finger) nearing his return from long-term injured reserve. Laughton could be back as soon as next Saturday's game against the Flames.

• The Flyers rocked military appreciation jerseys during warmups.

• The Flyers are off Sunday and practice Monday at 11:30 a.m. in Voorhees, New Jersey, before traveling to Florida for a matchup Tuesday with Joel Quenneville's Panthers (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

 

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