The Philadelphia Flyers were the better team on the ice, just not on the scoreboard. They fall to the New York Islanders, 1-0, in overtime.
Before the puck dropped at the Wells Fargo Center, the energy was palpable. On “Hockey Fights Cancer” night, Oskar Lindblom hit the ice first, taking a solo lap. The Philadelphia Flyers followed, all wearing the purple and black “Hockey Fights Cancer” jerseys featuring Lindblom’s number. Additionally, Lindblom found his place in the Flyers’ starting lineup.
Following a 6-3 loss on Saturday, Philadelphia needed to respond with vigor. They’ve been great at doing so following crushing defeats this season. Recently, they corrected a 6-1 loss to the Washington Capitals with a shootout win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Against a team they’ve competed steadily against in 2020-2021, the Flyers needed to regroup. Could Philadelphia take one back at home against the New York Islanders?
The Flyers matched the same energy in the Wells Fargo Center during warmups with their first-period performance. Though the scoreboard remained unchanged, Philadelphia created many opportunities. Unfortunately, Ilya Sorokin is a goaltender that plays his best versus the Flyers.
Wade Allison is making a great impression. Forcing puck battles and compressing the Islanders in their defensive zone, his tenacity on the forecheck creates offensive possession. If the Seattle Kraken were to select Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Allison could fill in with ease. Philadelphia should be happy Allison is expansion exempt.
Aside from Allison, the Flyers were setting up offensive looks from behind Sorokin. It was a refreshing change compared to the usual routine of relying strictly on odd-man rushes or starting from the blue line. After taking a beating from the Capitals, they’ve taken a page from their book. The next step is executing. If Philadelphia did, they would have led at the end of the first period.
Sorokin made a solid save on Travis Sanheim before turning away a barrage in a quickfire sequence. Would that continue in the second period?
No goals on the scoreboard after two periods, but the Islanders are leading in penalty minutes.
The Flyers had three shots on a powerplay to begin the second period, but Sorokin kept playing his game. Against a lesser goaltender, Philadelphia would lead this game by more than a goal. The Islanders had chances on Elliott, including one from Jordan Eberle following the powerplay in transition. Elliott is matching Sorokin, not allowing a goal through two periods.
Whatever transpired between Travis Konecny and Leo Komarov after the first period lit a fire under Konecny. Those two tangled up at center ice before the first intermission. Allegedly, Konecny took that personally. He made two Islanders look like fools along the boards, sneaking into the offensive zone. Konecny could have had two assists in the second period if not for Sorokin.
Something has to give for the Flyers’ efforts on offense. Sorokin isn’t perfect, is he?
Philadelphia put the game in the hands of Elliott and the penalty kill during the third period. Both entities were remarkable, keeping the Flyers in striking distance of taking a late-game lead. Again, Sorokin remained stubborn, turning away Sean Couturier on a shorthanded breakaway. In all, no goals surrendered in regulation. Elliott and Sorokin put on a show at the Wells Fargo Center.
Flyers head to overtime again
A great game ended on a folly. Philadelphia had one chance in the overtime period, but Ivan Provorov couldn’t score. Sorokin was the perfect goaltender tonight.
Off a line change, Nick Leddy had a step down the right side of the ice. He attempted a cross-ice pass, deflecting off Sanheim’s skate and into the net. The puck didn’t bounce for the Flyers tonight. Almost accidentally, the Islanders won, 1-0.
Up Next For The Flyers
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the New York Rangers on April 22nd, 2021, at 7pm. For coverage, tun into NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre