Such is life without Doug Weight and Mark Streit: The Islanders were brutal the first 10 minutes and fell behind 2-0 before the game was six minutes old. But they rebounded to control play in the 2nd, and even potted a goal back in the third -- Andy Hilbert scoring to tie Mike Comrie for 20 points on the year. Three minutes later, three Flyers goals in 67 seconds sealed the day. Struggling Martin Biron had 38 saves to collect his usual (10 wins in a row) Islanders tonic.
Post-game podcast discussing the game and Islanders at Hockey Night on Long Island, with new Lighthouse Hockey contributor Mike as guest co-host.
Flyers reaction at Broad Street Hockey. (If you missed it, Travis of Broad Street Hockey answered five questions I had for him about the Flyers here. Interesting perspectives). My Islanders answers to his queries are also at BSH. Thanks again to Travis for some great insight and one-liners.
Even when the Islanders controlled the flow of play, their lack of offensive depth meant goals -- er, "the goal" -- were typically hard to come by. A few quick Flyers moves through the neutral zone -- one leading to Simon Gagne's penalty shot -- and the Flyers had three quick goals to show the Isles what offensive depth looks like.
Jeff Tambellini was a healthy scratch, which spoke volumes about the status of his umpteenth quasi-chance to show he can be an NHL scorer. This time frequent scratch Jon Sim got his turn, with Weight's injury opening up another slot in the lineup.
Why no Tambellini? Well, they were in Philadelphia, where Gordon likes to dress towering Mitch Fritz to fend off the Broad Street Bullies. Fritz actually got 6:19 of TOI -- about three times his NHL season average. Alas, de facto enforcer Tim Jackman was again the only one called to the ring, dropping the gloves early with former Islander Aaron Asham.
Without Weight, Time for Someone to Step Up
I've mentioned before how, despite the Tavares-worthy record, this season hasn't been miserable to watch. BUT: Without Weight, particularly while powerplay key Streit is also on the shelf, the Isles will need someone to step up or we may have many more like this Valentine's Day in Philly.
That could be the youngsters: (Josh Bailey has gone a little quiet again, Frans Nielsen has not gotten back to where he was before Mike Mottau clotheslined him). Or it could be a UFA veteran like Mike Comrie -- but Comrie's career record doesn't indicate a major surge is in the cards.
Either way, adding Weight to the long-term injury list means 30th place (and Tavares?) is now closer than ever. It also means it's time to give more shots to more prospects -- and fewer to Jon Sim.