Game Preview 39/82: Flyers vs Islanders

Adam Pelech chases Travis Konecny in the offensive zone

The bottom line for Mike Yeo has a striking resemblance to the Alain Vigneault era.

Now, losers of eight straight games, the Philadelphia Flyers face the New York Islanders again tonight, this time on home ice, after losing 4-1 on Long Island last night. Ilya Sorokin continued his dominant ways, only allowing a flukey deflection goal from Travis Konecny. The Islanders eventually broke through while the Flyers struggled.

“Kind of a lucky bounce. Kind of bittersweet, but I’ll take it.”Travis Konecny; 1/17/2022

Philadelphia was 0/4 on the powerplay. Heading into the third period, they were down 2-1. Scott Laughton had multiple scoring chances turned away by Sorokin. Casey Cizikas and Brock Nelson started the domino effect against the Flyers.

Anthony Beauvillier put the knife in the back of Philadelphia. Matt Martin twisted the knife on an empty-net goal. The Flyers had their prime scoring chances to keep competitive, but Sorokin remained calm. Farabee was unable to convert on a breakaway chance late in the second. Nelson and Beauvillier caught Philadelphia on their heels in the defensive zone, making Martin Jones pay.

Yeo and the Flyers are inching closer to matching the losing streak under Vigneault. They have a rubber match tonight versus New York.

New York Islanders (12-13-6; 30pts)

Before last night, I mentioned how these two teams play each other closely. Momentum wasn’t a sure thing for the Islanders.

That changed a little bit.

New York has definite momentum as they visit the Wells Fargo Center. They remained a step ahead of Philadelphia, punctuated with terrific goaltending. Last place in the Metropolitan Division does not accurately portray their recent performance.

Based on the back-to-back schedule, Semyon Varlamov could start tonight. Sorokin soundly defeated the Flyers on Long Island. Varlamov hasn’t been able to hold off Philadelphia lately. Last season he was 0-1-1 against the Flyers. The most recent loss was at the Wells Fargo Center, 4-3, during a multi-goal night by Oskar Lindblom.

Lee-Barzal-Bellows
Beauvillier-Nelson-Bailey
Parise-Pageau-Wahlstrom
Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Pelech-Mayfield
Chara-Dobson
Salo-Greene

Varlamov
(Sorokin)

My eye is on Oliver Wahlstrom. He put the puck on goal for Beauvillier to clean up the crease, extending the lead to 3-1. His line was buzzing with Zach Parise. Wahlstrom led the team in shots on goal and penalty minutes. His minutes of quality hockey outweighed his time served in the penalty box.

A Philadelphia Fly-By

Carter Hart ought to start tonight, considering the logic of the back-to-back game.

Rasmus Ristolainen didn’t have a great return from COVID protocol. Nelson split him with help from Josh Bailey before beating Jones. He’s not the only defenseman who got burnt. Nelson diced Travis Sanheim before Beauvillier extended the lead. It was a passive effort defensively from a team that cannot afford to be passive in any aspect of hockey.

The Islanders are a fast team. One thing the Flyers deserve is credit for not coming out flat. New York sustained pressure, and eventually, Jones caved.

Here’s the projected lineup for Philadelphia. Note that Kevin Hayes is out four weeks (lower body.)

Farabee-Giroux-Atkinson
Lindblom-Laughton-Konecny
van Riemsdyk-Frost-Mayhew
Willman-Bunnaman-MacEwen

Provorov-Sanheim
York-Braun
Yandle-Ristolainen

Hart
(Jones)

Konecny is an easy option to watch. A flukey goal still counts as much. Another player who was buzzing last night, despite the final score, was Laughton. Without Sorokin (projected,) the Flyers may convert on scoring chances to compete.

Prediction

Last night represents eight straight losses. During this losing streak, Philadelphia earned two points in separate overtime losses (both to the San Jose Sharks.) Currently, there isn’t a difference in results between Yeo and Vigneault. The Flyers need to find their fighting spirit. Unfortunately, there’s no reason to pick in their favor.

Islanders 4, Flyers 3

(Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)

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