KHL import goalie Ilya Sorokin started his third game of the season in search of his first win. The Islanders finally scored some goals for him, but fell behind and could not take control of the game. They dropped their second straight game in overtime to the Flyers, finishing up their first extended road trip with two points and zero wins.
Barry Trotz tinkered further with his lineup tonight. Out came Leo Komarov, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Kieffer Bellows. In went Michael Dal Colle, as well as Austin Czarnik and Dmytro Timashov, the latter two making their Islanders debuts.
Looks like both Czarnik and Timashov are in lineup for Isles:— Eric Hornick (@ehornick) January 31, 2021
In his short time thus far on Long Island, Jean-Gabriel Pageau has probably taken at least one shift, if not multiple shifts, with every single player on the Islanders’ active roster.
First Period: Shots But No Islanders Goals
The Islanders looked decent during the first period. One new lineup addition, Czarnik, lined up on Mathew Barzal’s power play unit and had some jump all night. Sorokin absolutely robbed Jakub Voracek to keep the game scoreless early on.
But the Isles failed to put up a goal. Late in the period, a strange non-call of an icing by the linesman caught the Islanders a little off-guard. Brock Nelson tried to send a pass from the half wall to another new lineup addition, Timashov. But James van Riemsdyk picked it off and found Joel Farabee waiting in the slot. He beat Sorokin cleanly. The Flyers ended the period ahead 1–0.
Second Period: Digging Another Hole by Way of Farabee
The Islanders got on the board early in the second to tie the game. On a power play, Nick Leddy fired a seeing-eye slapper from the point that cruised through two or three guys and beat Brian Elliott.
Right away, though Philadelphia grabbed back the lead. After Sorokin stopped last night’s hero, Scott Laughton, they worked the puck around and Farabee, hanging out in the face-off dot, received another van Riemsdyk pass and beat Sorokin cleanly again.
In the final quarter of the period, Farabee’s leg deflected a Phillippe Myers point blast past Sorokin, giving the 20 year-old his first NHL hat trick. The Flyers headed into the last intermission with a two-goal lead, 3–1.
Third Period: Earning a Point with Another Comeback
Once again, the Islanders scored very early in the period. Josh Bailey tipped a point shot from Ryan Pulock past Elliott for his first goal of the season. You could feel his relief from your couch.
They completed the comeback only a few minutes later. Lee chased down a puck from his own zone into the Philadelphia corner, beating two Flyers to it. Voracek completely forgot about Barzal and he buried Lee’s pass with ease to tie it up, 3–3.
Just look at the Captain burning that dude ⏩⏩ pic.twitter.com/tMzpmscXE0— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) February 1, 2021
The two teams traded chances here and there for the rest of the period, but for the most part they played it close to the vest. However, on one such chance, Sorokin stole a goal from Claude Giroux as he attempted to finish a two-on-one with Nolan Patrick.
How, just how did he stop that pic.twitter.com/ElmIwNXrpA— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) February 1, 2021
For the second straight night, the Islanders and Flyers went to overtime.
Sorokin made a nice save in the first minute to keep the Isles alive early in the extra frame. But they struggled to take away possession from the Flyers and to clear the zone. Leddy started overtime and did not leave the ice for the first two minutes.
Pulock rode the boards down behind the goal line and set up Bailey all alone. But Elliott stopped the one-timer and prevented Bailey from getting his second of the night.
Barzal took a penalty for high-sticking Laughton with 1:20 left on the clock. Off the first face-off of the man advantage, the Islanders cleared the zone and Pageau played the puck. He waited and then fed Mayfield wide open coming over the blue line, but Elliott came out to stop it.
Going back the other way, the Flyers set up four-on-three and slowly closed in around Sorokin and the penalty killers. Giroux backhanded a pass to Kevin Hayes, who shot through a maze of bodies to beat Sorokin. Philadelphia took both games from the back-to-back in overtime.
Notes and Thoughts
- This road trip has finally concluded. The Islanders finished it 0–3–2, with a regulation loss that came in the final thirty seconds, a regulation loss in which they entered the second period leading 3–0 and finished the second period trailing 5–3, and two games in which they fell into quick two-goal deficits and played catch-up to force overtime, only to drop both. They have not won a hockey game since Thursday, January 21, when the Devils came to the Coliseum.
- By the way, that was the fifth straight overtime game that the Islanders have dropped to the Flyers, dating back to the summertime bubble. The last time the Islanders beat the Flyers in extra time, to the extent it even matters, was game no. 14 of the 15–0–2 streak on November 16, 2019.
- Sorokin showed some nice flashes of his natural ability, but he looks beat-up right now. One cannot help but wonder whether that first start against the Rangers may have shaken him up a little bit. To be fair to him, he made his third career start tonight and it was the first one in which his team scored a goal. And he did not have a preseason in which to work out some kinks in his game. But through three starts, he has not gotten that first win yet. Skating back to the locker room, the Isles came over to apologize to him.
- Barzal extended his point streak to four games, recording an assist and the tying goal. He also took two more minor penalties tonight, including the one that gave Philly their game-winning power play. He has been on another level so far this season, despite the rest of the team’s struggles. He just needs to clean up the penalties.
- There have been some encouraging signs over the last couple of games. But at some point, the Isles need to win some games if they want to make the playoffs this season. They have time, but it will run out quickly.
The Islanders finally can go home again, and boy does it look like they need it. They’ll host the Buffalo Sabres at the Coliseum twice this week: Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. ET (yes, you’re reading that correctly) on NBCSN, though it sounds like at least Brendan Burke, if not AJ Mleczko as well, will have the call. Thursday is a normal night: a 7:00 p.m. ET start on MSG+.