Despite a better defensive performance, the Philadelphia Flyers squander a lead in overtime to the New York Islanders, 2-1.
A new week and a new day mean another opportunity to correct the direction of the Philadelphia Flyers. Last time out, the Flyers lost to the New York Islanders, 6-1. Returning home, can Philadelphia improve? Under veteran guidance, the Flyers cannot give up the ship.
This month has been the most disappointing of the entire regular season. Before this, Philadelphia only had difficulty with the Boston Bruins. Now, everyone is taking a piece away from the Flyers. As ugly as it’s been, Philadelphia is just three points behind the Bruins. Midway, the season looks bleak, but the Flyers have life.
Versus New York, Philadelphia is 3-1-0. Ahead of the trade deadline, they have to prove they have what it takes to compete. In their fifth contest against the Islanders, did the Flyers compete?
And Compete They Did
The Flyers played their best first period in quite some time. Defensively, Philadelphia played tighter while not sacrificing shots on goal. Unfortunately, Ilya Sorokin occupied the net at the opposite end of the ice.
Shayne Gostisbehere bailed Brian Elliott out of a precarious position early on. Elliott was very far out of his crease, so Gostisbehere sacrificed his body to get in the passing lane. The Flyers were trending in the right direction defensively. Thus far, in 2020-2021, that hasn’t been a familiar narrative.
On special teams, Philadelphia put the clamps on New York. The penalty kill noticed the Islanders worked for a stretch pass to Oliver Wahlstrom, but Elliott anticipated. While New York played with discipline, the Flyers made up for a debatable roughing penalty on Travis Konecny. By the end of the first period, the momentum kept even between the two teams. Philadelphia competed the way they needed to recover after a poor performance on Long Island.
Perseverance pays off
Oskar Lindblom continues to play tough. He notched a game-winning goal earlier in this series, fought on Friday, and secured the first tonight.
Something had to give. The scoring chances began to pile on, but they were without conversions. Again, the Islanders had an early opportunity to steal momentum when Jean-Gabriel Pageau rang a puck off the post. Opposite of Pageau, Justin Braun provided a flurry of shots.
Speaking of Braun, he stood out in the second period. Defensively, he was a part of a unit that held New York to ten total shots on goal after two periods. To this point, Braun could have been the sturdiest defenseman on the ice. If Alain Vigneault couldn’t place his finger on the Flyers issues before, perhaps tonight he stumbled upon a solution. It’s undisputed that Philadelphia’s defense performed at optimum in the first forty minutes.
More goaltending woes for the Flyers
No matter who the goaltender is as of late for the Flyers, they’ve failed to locate the puck. Tonight, a painful mistake derailed an otherwise stingy defensive performance. Elliott couldn’t freeze the puck, allowing Wahlstrom to tie the game at one.
Defensively, Philadelphia did not allow more than six shots in a period.
No wonder Philippe Myers fell out of shape with Vigneault this season. After a prolonged negotiation through the offseason, the Flyers agreed to terms with Myers as a highly-anticipated defenseman. Tonight, he had many hits lined up but didn’t follow through. Following his 2019-2020 performance, Philadelphia paid for Myers to play physically.
Earning a Point
While the Flyers improved from Friday, this performance doesn’t cut it. Losing while outshooting the opponent by seventeen shots doesn’t sit right. Anthony Beauvillier recovered the puck and scored a quick wraparound goal on Elliott in overtime. Philadelphia became lax in detail as the game continued. It’s why the Islanders left the Wells Fargo Center with another victory.
Up next for the Flyers
Tomorrow, the Philadelphia Flyers host the New Jersey Devils at 7pm. The game can be viewed on NBC Sports Network.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre