It was not the New York Islanders’ afternoon.
They didn’t bring their “A” game, but it wasn’t a blown-out-at-home performance either. Still, the Flyers cashed in on their golden chances, while the Islanders were stopped, repeatedly, by...Brian Elliott.
The result: A 4-1 home loss that brought out some boo birds and dropped the Islanders two points behind the Capitals for first place in the Metro.
Though the Islanders had their healthy — and marginally better — share of shots, chances and possession in the first two periods, three of the four goals conceded to put the game out of reach were “battle level” defeats, if you will.
The fourth went in off a Flyer’s skate and leg.
[Game Sum | Event Sum | Natural Stat Trick | HockeyViz]
In the offensive zone, too, there were a lot of one-and-done attempts because they were beaten to pucks for rebounds.
About those goals conceded though:
Travis Konecny opened scoring and out-maneuvered Scott Mayfield down the left wing, eventually leaving Mayfield diving in stumbling desperation, before Konecny made a nice power move to the net and beat Robin Lehner short side.
At 14:59, Travis Sanheim outreached Anthony Beauvillier after a parade of lost battles in front of the net left the puck free for Sanheim to beat Lehner up high.
The Islanders were playing well enough that you’d think they had an even chance to add to their impressive number of comeback wins from 0-2 deficits. But Scott Laughlin was allowed free rein to curl in front of the net and get his own rebound (Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk were both behind the net, Brock Nelson turned away to guard the slot right as Laughlin broke free) to make it 3-0 just 3:18 into the second period.
Lehner was pulled for Thomas Greiss at that point, under the “3-0 means something changes, usually the goalie” rule.
#Isles Barry Trotz said, for most part, pulling Robin Lehner for Thomas Greiss down 3-0 to #Flyers was his trying to light a spark for his team. However, he said when Lehner is at his sharpest, maybe a couple of those goals don't go in.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) March 3, 2019
Again, the Isles weren’t playing terribly — and continuing Friday’s curse, another couple shots went off the post in the meantime — but nothing was going their way. Sean Couturier rushed the back door with Beauvillier trying to tie him up, but the puck hit Couturier’s skate, then left leg, to make it 4-0 at 15:14.
Meanwhile, Brian Elliott had stopped all 24 shots he faced through 40.
Nothing changed in the final 20, other than the Isles breaking through on Elliott to stop his shutout, Adam Pelech following up the play and finishing an Andrew Ladd setup from behind the net for the final score. Also, Jordan Eberle had a rare fight with Konecny after the Flyer took exception to a high hit behind the goal by Eberle.
Injury, Illness Issues
Matt Martin missed his second game in a row, Cal Clutterbuck left after taking a puck to the ear late in the second, and Casey Cizikas’ night was cut short in the third as flu or stomach bug symptoms caught up to him.
#Isles Barry Trotz said Casey Cizikas has been battling what sounds like a stomach virus. Trotz chalked it up to a Pepto-Bismol situation. Trotz much less descriptive about this than his good friend, John Tortorella.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) March 3, 2019
None of that is to excuse the Islanders — the Flyers came in with injuries of their own, and lost Nolan Patrick just two shifts in after a Clutterbuck puck to the head. But it does shed a bit of light on where they are or see themselves right now.
Of course it also raises the question about taking advantage of some of the other depth available to them.
Again, though, this begs the question to why they have not used one of their callups on Dal Colle or Ho-Sang. The whole point of this time of year is that the "extra bench" is made available to teams so that they can rest players who are hurt/sick/need some pepto/whatever. https://t.co/cSx1OXYgAH— Carey Haber (@habermetrics) March 3, 2019
It’s a home and home, oddly, with the Senators this week: Tuesday at the Coliseum, Thursday in Ottawa. No excuse not to right the ship here against the 31st-place team in the league.