Flyers
Kyle Palmieri came out victorious in his Islanders debut, a tightly-contested shootout decision against the Flyers. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Better, but it doesn’t really matter. The Philadelphia Flyers lose, 3-2, shootout style, for the second time in a week to the New York Islanders. It’s the type of game that’s good to see the Flyers play again because they were the better team for the final 53 minutes. But their work in the first seven put the game up for grabs, and once again, the Flyers failed to take advantage of an opportunity that was within reach.

This game was literally over less than six and a half minutes in. First, a wide-open Brock Nelson took advantage of an odd-man rush with a wide-open one-timer that literally no Flyer even saw, let alone defended. Just a few minutes later, an Ivan Provorov in-zone wipeout gave New York a three-on-one down-low. Justin Braun initially covered Jordan Eberle but lost him as Leo Komarov swung below the goal-line. That became a problem when Komarov wrapped the puck back in front, where Eberle chipped it past Carter Hart near-post. They lost the entire game in sixty-three seconds. That’s genuinely difficult to do.

It’s incredibly difficult to come back against any team, but the Islanders just don’t let those happen. And if the Flyers can’t beat Boston’s fourth-string goalie and an NHL defense, they sure as hell weren’t gonna score three straight goals against the Islanders. Especially when Sam Morin gets a five-minute major for pushing Casey Cizikas into the boards. It wasn’t the most egregious play, but Cizikas appeared to be hurt on the play, which was enough to end Morin’s night. But not only did they kill that off, but they had two two-on-ones and a breakaway. Yet somehow the Flyers remain one of two teams without a short-handed goal all year (Detroit is the other).

Hold on, actually; maybe the game isn’t over. Go figure after all those great chances that a routine shot off the rush by Nicolas Aube-Kubel cut the deficit in half without almost anyone realizing it. Granted, the shot went through defenseman Scott Mayfield’s legs, but it’s not the type of goal you’d expect. They should’ve tied on a nifty backhand move on a rebound by Joel Farabee, but he hit the post instead of the wide-open cage. But all things considered, they were lucky to be within one heading into the first intermission.

For once, the Flyers took advantage of fortune. A gorgeous transition play from the second line of Travis Konecny, Claude Giroux, and Jakub Voracek put on a clinic. Konecny made the breakout, Giroux sauced it cross-ice, and Voracek snapped it stick-side on Ilya Sorokin for the game-tying score. It set up a legitimately great period for the Flyers, who moved the puck well and created some anxious moments for the Islanders. The penalty kill stepped on a late look, with Hart making a signature save on an Anthony Beauvillier. The power-play hopped over the boards with a chance to take the lead, but fantastically sputtered. Can’t have it all I guess.

The third period played out as you’d expect; tight-checking, mostly defensively, and ultimately, tied at its conclusion. The Flyers started the overtime strong, generating a couple of good looks. But they weren’t able to make the most of any of them. Philadelphia’s penalty kill stepped up big-time when Kevin Hayes went off at 3:02 for a hook, allowing just a single shot on goal. Each of the first eight shootout participants was stopped before Brock Nelson went post and in far-side. Sorokin finished a frustrating night for Joel Farabee by stopping his glove-side shot, getting the Islanders the extra point.

Lindies

Lots of Flyers fans might’ve been blinded by Phil Myers coming out of the lineup with Robert Hagg, but it didn’t shock me. Myers hasn’t been playing amazingly lately, and Hagg was actually playing better before a shoulder injury kept him out of 13 consecutive games. And other than taking a penalty, Hagg (75.4% Corsi, 76.32% xG at 5-on-5, score and venue adjusted) delivered a very strong game in his return.

New Islanders Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac made their team debut tonight. Neither was outstanding, but that’s to be expected for their first game with a new team.

Per Jim Jackson on the broadcast, no team has given up more goals off the rush this year than the Flyers. Doesn’t surprise me.

Claude Giroux’s assist on the Voracek goal is his 64th point in 59 career games against the Islanders. He’s third among active-players in points against the Isles.

While I do think the Morin hit should’ve been a penalty, and the injury was enough to make it five, the fact that J.G. Pageau did literally the same thing to Travis Sanheim in the 3rd and got off scot-free was definitely frustrating. Not saying this should’ve been a major, but come on.

New York’s Mat Barzal was named the most recent First Star of the Week in the NHL, scoring three goals and four assists. He also had a shootout winner in New York’s only meeting with the Flyers in that span. In my opinion, Barzal might be one of the league’s most underrated players; most people know he’s good, but I don’t know if everyone understands just how good he really is.

Only two Flyers have scored in shootouts all year for Philadelphia: Sean Couturier and Nolan Patrick. They were the Flyers’ first two shooters tonight. On a related note, Philly is just 1-4 in shootouts this year.

There is literally nothing to read into this (he’s not coming here, Flyers fans), but I was (pleasantly) surprised to see these comments by Rod Brind’Amour on the Flyers.

Apparently, he was on NBC Sports Philadelphia’s pre-game coverage. Neat.

3 Stars

3rd: Jakub Voracek (PHI) – Goal (7)

2nd: Jordan Eberle (NYI) – Goal (14)

1st: Brock Nelson (NYI) – SO Winner, Goal (15)

Next

PHI – 4/10, 2 PM vs. BOS (21-10-6, W2)

NYI – 4/9, 7 PM vs. NYR (18-16-5, L1)

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