The Philadelphia Flyers, looking to redeem themselves after last night’s debacle in Manhattan, traveled to Uniondale to take on the New York Islanders on Thursday night. The Flyers defeated the Islanders 4-3 after a furious New York comeback attempt at Nassau Memorial Veterans Coliseum.
The game started out rather uneventful, aside from a Flyer turnover that led to some zone time for New York. The Flyers would earn the game’s first power play with 11:24 to play in the first period as Islanders center Mat Barzal was called for a double-minor for high sticking against Philadelphia’s Nate Prosser during a net-front battle. The Flyers would have a couple of decent scoring chances but Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov and the penalty kill unit would have none of Philadelphia’s attempts to score.
With 6:27 to play in the period, Nicolas Aubé-Kubel took a roughing minor after going for a high hit on New York defenseman Sebastian Aho. The Islanders would have some good looks against the Flyers’ struggling penalty kill, including a shot off the crossbar by Jordan Eberle with 13 seconds left in the power play, but Carter Hart and the Flyers stood tall.
The first period would end at 0-0 with the Flyers leading in shots on goals 9-8 and a little roughhousing between Travis Konecny and Brock Nelson as the teams headed into the first intermission.
Philadelphia began the 2nd period with more jump and pressured the Islanders early, and the Flyers would capitalize on their chances. Oskar Lindblöm jumped on a rebound that sat in front of Varlamov after a Claude Giroux shot just 2:26 into the second period and the Flyers led 1-0.
Joel Farabee would ring a shot off iron a couple of minutes later as Philadelphia kept their foot on the gas after Lindblöm’s 3rd goal of the season. Philadelphia would record the first 7 shots on goal to open the frame.
The Flyers would head back to the power play with 13:22 to go in the middle frame after Kiefer Bellows slashed Nolan Patrick’s stick in half on a backchecking effort, but Philadelphia still could not cash in with the man advantage. The Flyers maintained some nice offensive zone time but couldn’t sneak one past Varlamov and the Islanders would kill off Bellows’ minor.
The Flyers would make up for it shortly after though, as a Nate Prosser wrist shot from the right point was tipped home by the captain Giroux with 9:56 to go in the period and the Flyers would take a 2-0 lead at that point. Giroux was able to put his stick blade low near his skates and connected with the Prosser shot to beat Varlamov to the glove side.
Philadelphia was not done yet in the period, as the Flyers had a 3-on-2 up ice and cashed in on the odd-man rush, as Jake Voráček pounded home a one-time rocket off of a sweet setup from Kevin Hayes and made it 3-0 in favor of the Orange and Black. Scott Laughton would also pick up an assist on Voráček’s 5th tally of the season with 5:59 remaining in the second period.
The second frame would end with that 3-0 score in favor of Philadelphia, and the Flyers sure looked like a team that had all but forgotten about last night’s game and just kept chugging along. However, there’s a reason you have to play all 60 minutes, and the Flyers found that out rather quickly.
The Islanders came out for the 3rd period with more energy than they had shown earlier in the game, and after a few chances and plenty of pressure, Michael Dal Colle got New York on the board. Dal Colle’s 1st goal of the year was a wrister off the rush from the left wing that eluded the glove of Carter Hart and cut Philadelphia’s lead to 3-1 at the 7:53 mark of the period.
New York would not go away quietly, however, as they found new life in Dal Colle’s goal and kept their strong play up. They would eventually draw a penalty on Nolan Patrick for high-sticking and they would make Philadelphia pay with a Sebastian Aho goal at 13:53 of the period, and then it was only 3-2 Flyers.
Just 24 seconds later, New York would win a faceoff in the Flyers’ end. Oliver Wahlstrom received a beautiful cross-ice feed from defenseman Nick Leddy after the draw and snapped a shot that squeaked by Hart and all of a sudden, the Islanders had come from all the way back from 0-3 down to make it a 3-3 hockey game out on Long Island.
Philadelphia finally managed to take back control of things, and with 2:22 to play in the third, Lindblöm fired home a one-timer from the high slot through traffic to put the Flyers back on top late in the game. Travis Konecny would be the one that slid the puck over to the open Lindblöm for his 2nd tally of the night.
The Flyers would hold off the Islanders’ final push with the extra attacker on the ice, and they snuck out of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum with a much-needed 4-3 road victory in regulation.
3 STARS – 1. Oskar Lindblöm (PHI), 2. Nick Leddy (NYI), 3. Claude Giroux (PHI)
- Oskar Lindblöm – Lindblöm scored his first goal since January 15th against the Penguins, a span of 21 games in between goals. Lindblöm was scratched for last night’s 9-0 loss to the Rangers and made the most of his opportunity tonight early in the 2nd period. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for Oskar and it would be great if the floodgates opened for him now.
- Travis Konecny – Konecny racked up 3 assists tonight, which led all players in scoring tonight. This was also his first 3+ point game since that same January 15th matchup against Pittsburgh that Lindblöm last scored in. Konecny is now up to 18 points in 22 games and looked very solid in tonight’s game.
- Claude Giroux – The captain played very well tonight and contributed a goal and an assist in tonight’s effort. After last night’s embarrassing showing against the Rangers, Giroux showed us why he has that “C” sewn on his sweater and led the Flyers to a much-needed win, as they came into tonight 3-6-0 in the month of March and needed some life to stay afloat in the East Division playoff race.
- Phil Myers – Myers did not look great tonight. He was -1 along with his partner Travis Sanheim, and also committed a very egregious turnover early in the 1st period that Philadelphia was able to survive. Myers has been one of many defensemen on this team that has struggled mightily this season, especially recently as the Flyers are hovering on the playoff bubble, and he just flat out needs to be smarter with the puck and play better in his own zone.
- Alain Vigneault – Vigneault’s response in losing 9-0 on national television to a longtime rival was to not make any eye-popping changes to his lineup, and instead made some very minimal ones. While they did win tonight, his decision to play Erik Gustafsson and Nate Prosser over Shayne Gostisbehere was absolutely puzzling, especially when you take into account that before Gostisbehere’s scratching on Wednesday, he had been on a 3-game point streak before Monday’s win against the Rangers, and is also much more impactful than either Gustafsson or Prosser in every single facet of the game. They also still almost blew tonight’s game as well! The lone noticeably positive change he made was dressing Oskar Lindblöm, everything else was questionable at best.
The Flyers return to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night to face the Islanders again for the 3rd game of this four-game road trip. After tonight’s win, the Flyers sit 3 points behind the Boston Bruins who occupy the 4th and final playoff berth in the East Division. Hopefully, Philadelphia can keep things rolling and build on tonight’s effort should they want to make the playoffs.