The Flyers are in uncharted waters. The #1 seed are now down 3-1 in what is rapidly becoming a scary series against the Islanders. New York scored a pair of third-period goals to deflate the Flyers and now they face a must-win situation.
Things started out well enough, but the Islanders were able to turn a 7-0 shot deficit into a tally they dominated 18-7 in the first period. Momentum slipped down the drain and then the Isles struck first. From there, the Flyers were fighting against the tide relentlessly, picking up the pace in the second period.
It wasn’t for the want of trying. Turnovers and erratic errors haunted a Flyers team that had 38 out of a whopping 68 attempts find the target, but they simply couldn’t find a way past Thomas Greiss after Provorov’s goal in the second period. Claude Giroux is knocking on the door as hard as he can to get that top line performing, leading the team with five shots on goal…but is it too little, too late?
“I think we generated a lot of chances.” Said the Flyers’ captain. “Goalie made some nice saves. As a team, I think the first period was just okay. Second and third, I think that was our best hockey. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how hard you work. You got to find a way.”
What’s really perplexing is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be one common thread linking the losses outside of top-line production. Even then, Jake Voracek is the one man pouring in the points this postseason.
The Flyers played an intense final two periods where they let rip. The intensity was there for the most part. Sixteen of eighteen skaters registered at least one hit. It just wasn’t enough to beat a team focused solely on maintaining a very rigid structure. Goalscorer Ivan Provorov went as far as to call it ‘lucky’.
“They stayed patient. They wait for opportunities. I think today they just got lucky.”
Alain Vigneault was quick to credit his team’s performance too, even in spite of the frustrating loss.
“I thought we worked extremely hard. I really liked the way we came out tonight. The Islanders got a little bit momentum maybe in that last half of the first period. We got caught on an extended shift. Their power play was real good and got some real good looks. Brian kept us in. In the second after they scored, I thought we came on. We worked and we worked. We battled. We’re trying to create the right type of chances that are going to end up in the back of their net. Give credit to their goaltender tonight. He played a real good game, just like ours. They were able to capitalize and we weren’t”.
Lucky or not, the Flyers simply have to find a way to beat an Islanders team that’s showing no signs of fading away or slowing down anytime soon. Frustration is clearly setting in. It doesn’t matter what the Flyers do, breaking down the Islanders is a feat that’s becoming harder and harder to accomplish.
The Flyers are 1-17 in seven-game series when trailing 3-1. If they can’t find the magic formula or turn all that effort into execution, the magical cup run might be postponed another year.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre
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