Flyers
Nick Leddy (right) tried to set-up Jordan Eberle (left) for the OT winner, but wound up scoring the only goal of the game himself on a bounce off a Flyers’ stick. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Welp. The Philadelphia Flyers lose, 1-0, in overtime, to the New York Islanders in one of the most uneventful games of the season. The scoreboard suggested as much, of course. While Ilya Sorokin and Brian Elliott both played brilliant games, this is not exactly the type of the game that’s going to bring in new fans. If anything, it’ll just drive Flyers fans closer to the point of changing the channel until the fall.

The first period came and went in the blink of an eye and with an elongated yawn. Only twelve total shots combined for the two clubs. The Islanders didn’t even manage their first one until the back-half of the frame. Both teams did manage some good looks, with Travis Sanheim and Kevin Hayes shut down by Ilya Sorokin right at point-blank range more than once. But both goaltenders stood strong, which would remain a theme throughout the night.

The most dangerous look an early second-period Flyers power-play was Brian Elliott stopping Casey Cizikas coming out of the box on a 2-on-1. The pace of the game did pick up a bit during this period at least. The Flyers dominated on the cycle, while New York failed to hit the net on a number of odd-man rushes. Philadelphia took over the flow of the game, though they were actually much better by expected goals in the first (66.71%) than in the second (43.04%, 5-on-5, score and venue adjusted).

All of the Flyers’ momentum dissipated in the third, however, as the Islanders grabbed the game by the horns. The Islanders more than double the Flyers in shots (13-6), drew the only two penalties of the period, and put up a gaudy 83.45% Expected Goals%. The Flyers hung on to reach overtime, but like so much of this season, it wasn’t meant to be. Travis Sanheim, who led the Flyers with five shots and played one of his best games of the season, scored the game-winner… by deflecting a Nick Leddy centering pass into his own net. The Flyers suffered their second shutout loss of the season. And in doing so, they officially cannot reach the 70-point mark on the season. That’s the threshold they likely needed to reach to have a chance at reaching the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It’s especially disappointing considering it was Hockey Fights Cancer night at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers did a wonderful job of honoring Oskar Lindblom, who took a lap all by himself to start warm-ups before his teammates joined him, all sporting lavender Lindblom #23 jerseys. Oskar received a tribute and standing ovation at the first TV timeout. A victory tonight likely wouldn’t have changed the course of this disappointing season. But it would’ve produced a moment for all sports fans to appreciate. Unfortunately, the opportunity came and went, like so many have this season. And now it’s up for the Flyers to keep fighting, not necessarily for short-term success, but to build the blocks for better days in the near future.

At least one Philadelphia sports team won a shutout game today! (And the Union also tied a shutout as well.) Check out my thoughts on the Phillies’ last week above.

Lindies

This caught everyone’s eye: per CapFriendly, the Flyers apparently recalled Cam York to their taxi squad, putting the 2019 1st rounder one step closer to the NHL. It may just have to do with the Phantoms having two games postponed due to COVID. But still exciting, even if it doesn’t sound like he’ll be up for long.

According to broadcaster Brendan Burke, this is the first game all season Barry Trotz has changed around his top-six by his choice (Noah Dobson missed 8 games on the league’s COVID list). Dobson was a healthy scratch tonight, with former Flyer Braydon Coburn making his Islanders debut. Unlike Anthony Mantha on Tuesday and Jeff Carter on Thursday, he was not all over the ice today creating chances.

Five of Ilya Sorokin’s twelve NHL wins have come against the Flyers. Gonna be super fun facing him, Igor Shesterkin, and Ilya Samsonov for the next decade-plus. Same for MacKenzie Blackwood, even if he’s not Russian.

This was the sixth time in the club’s eight meetings this year and the third straight game that the Islanders and Flyers took into overtime. All in all, the Flyers finish 3-1-4 against the team that ousted them from last year’s playoffs, while the Islanders come in at 5-1-2 against Philly.

Injury updates for the Flyers: Carter Hart will skate again and be re-evaluated on Tuesday. Nolan Patrick sat again for what seems like extra precaution; it sounds like he’s likely to return for Thursday’s game.

Really cool story Liam McHugh talked about at intermission. 17-year old Tony Campisi, who is battling cancer for the second time, served as an honorary coach and read out the lineup prior to puck drop. The Flyers also didn’t stop there.

Steve Footit, a member of the Army for 27 years and a nurse since 2016, was also celebrated at tonight’s game.

There are so many stories about hockey bonding people in the face of this terrible disease; too many to count. Pierre McGuire said during the broadcast that Hockey Fights Cancer is the best initiative the NHL has done in his 30 years around the league. I think everyone can agree with him there.

3 Stars

3rd: Nick Leddy (NYI) – Goal (2), 3 Shots, 3 Hits, 23:02 TOI

2nd: Brian Elliott (PHI) – .964 SV% (27 Saves/28 Shots), 1 GA on 2.47 xGA

1st: Ilya Sorokin (NYI) – 30-Save Shutout on 2.17 xGA

Next

NYI – 4/20, 7 PM vs. NYR (23-16-6, W4)

PHI – 4/22 (that’s right – 3 DAY BREAK!), 7 PM @ NYR (23-16-6, W4)

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Advanced Stats via Natural Stat Trick