The Flyers hosted the New York Islanders tonight in Philadelphia looking to rebound after a hard loss yesterday afternoon. The Flyers were looking to keep any surviving playoff hopes alive with a win against a team they have played very close all year.
The game really decided that it wanted to take its sweet time getting started. Roughly halfway through the initial frame the shots were 2 to 0 in favor of the Flyers. You read that correctly, it took about ten minutes for the Islanders to test Brian Elliott, and in all of the time the Flyers only managed to put two in on Ilya Sorokin. The game was seemingly shaping up to be the worst kind of scoreless game, a really defensive and boring one.
But a late Flyers surge was enough to wake up the fans inside the Wells Fargo Center, with the team managing a number of quality opportunities in the final minutes of the first, capturing the momentum before heading into the dressing rooms scoreless.
The second period seemed like it was going to be vintage 2021 Flyers. They came out slow to start and the Islanders were pushing hard, but a costly tripping penalty by Casey Cizikas sent the Flyers to the powerplay and gave them an edge they wouldn’t give up for the rest of the period.
The Flyers pressed hard and pressed often through the next 18 minutes of hockey. Great possession time, crisp passing, putting tons of high danger shots on net, but they seemed totally unable to crack Sorokin. The Isles netminder looked possessed, never needing to make a highlight reel save, simply vacuuming up every opportunity.
Defensively the Flyers looked fantastic as well. Yeah, they were giving up a decent amount of odd-man rushes, but the confused Islanders offense seemed to be bit hard by the turnover bug, often unable to even put shots on net, and when they did, the Flyers were quick to clear and get rushes the other way.
The game had shifted from a boring 0-0 defensive drag to a high flying, frequent opportunity one where Sorokin refused to blink, but the Isles offense seemed to refuse to put anything together. And that’s how it stayed, sending both teams into the final frame looking to break this game wide open.
The Islanders came out in the third playing far better than they had the rest of the game. Managing to draw penalties throughout the period, the Islanders managed to make up a lot of ground in the shot department. However, the disparity in the goal department was unyielding.
Brian Elliott didn’t let the lack of early opportunities catch him off guard, snagging everything that came his way, with help from strong play from the Flyers in their own end. Travis Konecny, especially, as he wore a point blast off his thigh, sending him laboring to the bench. Though thankfully, he didn’t miss any time.
That’s the way the game would stay, as neither goalie would blink, sending both teams into overtime, something Flyers-Isles matchups tend to do, as this is the fourth straight game between these teams to need some extra time.
The Isles would steal it in heartbreaking fashion, as a Nick Leddy pass would clip off of Travis Sanheim’s stick and between Elliott’s legs for the first and final goal of the contest. Own goals are never fun, but an own goal in overtime to breakup a scoreless game is just next-level sad.
The Flyers played a fantastic game at all ends of the ice, and the fact that they still lost in such a flukey way is emblematic of this nightmare season. In recent games the team is playing like a team fighting for the playoffs, even though that door is all but closed. Still, as you start looking towards next year, some wins and some good play from the younger players would certainly raise some spirits.
The Flyers have a matchup with the New York Rangers this Thursday in New York where they’ll be looking to play spoiler to a hungry Rangers team.