The New York Islanders needed this win today against the Philadelphia Flyers, a team that has dismantled them twice in recent games. The Islanders’ slump in play had been a massive cause of concern, and a game like this afternoon’s is encouraging as the regular season closes out. Goals by Brock Nelson, Nick Leddy, and Josh Bailey earned the Isles the victory against a Metropolitan Division rival.
In the opening shift, Casey Cizikas drew a hooking penalty after getting a partial breakaway. The Isles’ power play continued its poor form, but as that penalty was nearing its end, Anders Lee drew a four minute minor after taking a stick to the face that drew blood. However, the high stick was friendly fire, as it was Brock Nelson that actually caught Lee, but the Flyers’ Robert Hagg was called for the double minor. Then, the Islanders were called for a very blatant too many men on the ice call, but no goals were scored.
Then, Hagg scored off an extremely weird bounce to give the Flyers the lead. Leo Komarov had an opportunity to tie the game off a good passing play by Tanner Fritz and Anthony Beauvillier, but he shot it high.
Then, Brock Nelson tied the game as a pass intended for Andrew Ladd bounced off Radko Gudas. Nelson batted the puck in past Carter Hart mid-air, giving the Isles their first goal in over 100 minutes of game time.
The Isles had a few other good opportunities to close out the period, but Hart was able to keep all of them away as the first ended with the score tied.
The second period opened up with some huge shifts by the Islanders, who kept the Flyers hemmed in their own end for a couple of minutes but couldn’t score — Matt Martin hit the post on the best opportunity of the surge. Devon Toews took a shot that Josh Bailey tipped off the crossbar and Nick Leddy took a shot that Jordan Eberle tipped, but Hart saved that too.
The Isles peppered Hart with a flurry of shots and Mathew Barzal recovered a rebound and got the puck to Leddy in the slot, who scored to give the Islanders the lead.
Robin Lehner made a huge save on Jakub Voracek to keep the Isles’ lead as the period ended.
Ryan Hartman was sent to the box for two minutes for interference after pushing Scott Mayfield into Lehner. The call was pretty weak, however, and Voracek contested the call, earning himself a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. On the ensuing 5-on-3, the Isles could only muster two shots on goal, as their strategy seemed to be “keep two guys behind the net and stay still and pass 400 times.”
Mayfield was called for a penalty, the Flyers won the faceoff, and Gostisbehere tied the game 2-2.
Then, Adam Pelech took a penalty but Lehner made some key saves as the Islanders killed the penalty.
Andrew Ladd made a nice play to Brock Nelson in the neutral zone, who then got the puck to Josh Bailey who cut in and put a great shot past Hart to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead.
Leo Komarov made a great rush into the Flyers’ zone coupled with a great pass to Josh Bailey, who all but sealed the game with another goal to make it 4-2.
The Flyers pulled Hart shortly after, and though the Isles failed to score on the empty net, they closed the game out for a 4-2 victory.
- The Isles earned the win today in Philly, dominating the Flyers throughout the game in a performance that was needed after lackluster displays against Boston and Montreal, and even against the Flyers in the two games at the Coliseum.
- The officiating was pretty bad today, but it went in the Isles’ favor. With a functioning power play, this game could’ve been over a lot sooner than it was. The Islanders shouldn’t be struggling this much with the man advantage, and certainly shouldn’t be having as much trouble as they are on 5-on-3s.
- Josh Bailey’s first goal was his first since February 26. Welcome back to the scoresheet!
Next, the Islanders return to the Coliseum to face off against the Arizona Coyotes at 3pm tomorrow afternoon. The Coyotes have been surging as of late and are tied with the Minnesota Wild with 79 points in 75 games. They sit just outside of the wild card, and are fighting for their playoff spot. Another performance like today’s in Philadelphia would be huge.