Fedotov replaces Ersson, Flyers to Isles in OT

Flyers' Ivan Fedotov
Philadelphia Flyers’ Ivan Fedotov sits in goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Momentarily, the Philadelphia Flyers (36-29-11) are ahead in ‘the race for third place’ in the NHL Metropolitan Division. They earned one point, dropping an overtime decision to the New York Islanders (32-27-15), 4-3.

John Tortorella had a quick trigger on managing the game. He stressed that a day off on Sunday could mean a mental reset, but that didn’t translate on the ice. Tortorella pulled Sam Ersson after the first period, and after the game, he was fired up in all the wrong ways about his lineup, except Ivan Fedotov:

“He’s [Fedotov] the only guy that played.”

John Tortorella; 4/1/2024

Is this an overreaction from Tortorella? No. He is finding which players in his lineup are meant for crunch time. His disappointment isn’t with the whole group, nor does it stretch over the entire game. The second period drew ire from Tortorella.

“I wanted to bring him [Fedotov] in; it just didn’t look right with Ers [Ersson]. I’m totally impressed. I put him in a hell of a spot, and he’s the only God damn player that played in the second period.”

John Tortorella; 4/1/2024

Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Islanders

Egor Zamula caught a puck to the face. He left for the locker room early in the first period to get his repairs but eventually returned. Travis Konecny took a snapshot, but Semyon Varlamov hugged the post to make the save.

Nick Seeler flipped the puck into the neutral zone, batted down by Robert Bortuzzo. Brock Nelson couldn’t corral the puck, and Noah Cates entered the offensive zone. Cates picked the glove side on Varlamov with a wrist shot to break the ice, 1-0.

“To get the first goal is always big, but you can’t let one minute slip away, and they get two goals, or the second period, we get hemmed in and only get a couple [of] shots, especially this late in the season.”

Noah Cates; 4/1/2024

Erik Johnson cleared the puck from the boards into the center of the ice. Nicolas Deslauriers didn’t retrieve the puck. He was out of reach with Kyle MacLean separating. Matt Martin did recover and quickly put a wrist shot past Ersson, 1-1.

Sean Couturier got crushed into the boards by Ryan Pulock and didn’t return to the game. In transition, the Islanders gained the lead on the odd-man rush. Bo Horvat swooped down the left wing and put a wrist shot past Ersson, 2-1.

Zamula served a minor penalty for delaying the game. Garnet Hathaway and Cam Atkinson helped kill the penalty, clearing the defensive zone. Scott Laughton had a shorthanded scoring chance, but Varlamov made the save. The Flyers finished 2/2 on the penalty kill.

At the start of the second period, Fedotov replaced Ersson. The Wells Fargo Center was excited to see Fedotov make his NHL debut, even if it wasn’t a start. Inserting Fedotov in the game provided energy.

Travis Sanheim recovered the puck in the defensive zone, then did his impression of Bobby Orr. Sanheim outskated Anders Lee, skated through Horvat, and placed a wrist shot past Varlamov upon entry into the offensive zone, 2-2. A coast-to-coast goal brought Philadelphia back to life.

“Off to a good start with getting the goal and thought we maybe got some momentum there, had some good shifts, and just couldn’t sustain it. They got their chances at the other end and ended up capitalizing as well.”

Travis Sanheim; 4/1/2024

Mathew Barzal was the first NHL skater to have a breakaway scoring chance on Fedotov. Fedotov made the glove save before covering to freeze the puck. Playing with poise and confidence, Fedotov almost immediately became a crutch. The Flyers relied too often on his goaltending as New York heavily possessed the puck.

Lee served a minor penalty for high sticking. Varlamov made a save on Laughton, and Konecny missed wide right. Overall, the puck movement on the powerplay looked better, but Philadelphia finished 0/2 on the powerplay.

After serving his penalty, Lee became the first NHL skater to score on Fedotov. Alexander Romanov fired from the high corner, and Lee deflected the puck past Fedotov, 3-2. Zamula didn’t clear Lee off the crease, and the greasy goal regained an Islanders lead before the second intermission.

Urgently pushing the pace in the offensive zone, Owen Tippett buzzed with a wrap-around attempt after Jamie Drysdale and Seeler kept containment. Ryan Poehling, Cates, and Hathaway chipped in on the forecheck to help wear down New York. Morgan Frost pounced on a loose puck, but Varlamov was there. Despite another big save made by Varlamov, the Flyers finally had some jam.

Tortorella pulled Fedotov for a six-on-five advantage. Konecny and Drysdale kept cycling the puck to the final moments of regulation. Drysdale fired from the point, and Frost scored on the rebound, 3-3. Frost forced overtime with :09 remaining in regulation.

An overtime appearance put Philadelphia one point ahead of the Washington Capitals in the NHL Metropolitan Division and ahead of the Detroit Red Wings in pursuit of the NHL Wildcard. At this point, one point wasn’t the result desired. The Flyers needed a win.

Philadelphia had possession in overtime but bungled the game in the defensive zone. Frost mishandled a pass from Drysdale and the costly turnover allowed Kyle Palmieri to drop a pass back to Nelson for the game-winner, 4-3.

Up Next

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Buffalo Sabres on Friday at 7pm.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)