The Islanders should have won this game, but it seemed like they walked into Wells Fargo Center expecting an all-out brawl and only got two mildly entertaining fights and then a normal hockey game. It didn’t help that they had to play two entire periods down a skater with Cal Clutterbuck’s injury, on top of the decision to bring Ross Johnston into this game, where he played only 9:35, the lowest TOI of anyone besides Clutterbuck.
They looked disinterested, and ultimately dropped two points in a very winnable game against an opponent that literally hadn’t won a game in three weeks.
Tonight’s game picked up where these two teams left off, with Matt Martin fighting Zack MacEwen, and then Ross Johnston fighting the instigator of Saturday night’s drama, Nic Delauriers. All parties were given 5 minutes each for fighting.
The Islanders went to the power play after old friend Kieffer Bellows slashed Noah Dobson. Then, Rasmus Ristolainen was called for interference, giving the Isles a 5 on 3. Dobson would score on that to make it 1-0.
Unfortunately, quickly after that, Travis Sanheim would tie the game with a shorthanded goal.
Kevin Hayes would give the Flyers the lead off a great shot after the faceoff, as the puck bounced a bit and went directly to him. There wasn’t much Sorokin could do on that one, and the Islanders were made to pay for another slow start against a team motivated to end a 10 game winless streak.
Oliver Wahlstrom went to the box for hooking, but the Isles killed that penalty despite some good shots from the Flyers.
Cal Clutterbuck left the game towards the end of the period, having only played 4:11 in the first. He didn’t return for the rest of the game, so we’ll see if he’s out long term or if it’s just a minor issue.
After the period ended, Adam Pelech and Lukas Sedlak got into it, with both of them getting roughing penalties.
It was 4 on 4 to start the period, and Kevin Hayes nearly made it 3-1 early, but lost his handle on the puck. That great chance set the tone for the Flyers, though, as they kept pressuring Sorokin.
Then, the Isles started putting pressure of their own on Carter Hart, as Scott Mayfield hit the post on one of the best chances to tie the game. They drew a penalty, sending Max Willman to the box for hooking, but the Flyers killed that.
Sorokin had to make another big save, this time on Frost, to keep the game at 2-1. Alex Romanov blocked a shot, and Adam Pelech went off for interference, helping to keep the Flyers from putting the game too far out of reach.
The Isles killed that penalty, and Scott Mayfield blocked a shot that left him in some pain at the end of the period, but he returned for the third and seemed to be fine.
Bellows nearly got his first goal as a Flyer, hitting the post early in the period. Sorokin made a good save on Sedlak, and at the other end of the ice, Carter Hart made a solid save on an Anthony Beauvillier shot, and Beau couldn’t put away any of the rebounds.
It seemed like Hart might have been hurt on that sequence, but he stayed in and was okay for the rest of the game.
The Beauvillier chances were the best of the period, as the Islanders failed to get a shot on goal for a solid 10 minute stretch, until Owen Tippett took a high sticking penalty, sending the Isles to the power play.
The Islanders only got one good shot on goal that power play, passing the puck for way too long, and the Flyers killed the penalty.
With just over two minutes left, Sorokin was pulled for the extra skater, and Hayes put the puck into the empty net to seal a 3-1 Flyers win and snap their 10 game losing streak.
- It seems like the Ross Johnston decision might have been due to an upper body injury for Josh Bailey that left him unable to play tonight. He went out for warmups but apparently wasn’t good for the game, and that could be something to watch going forward.
- Along with that, hopefully Cal Clutterbuck’s injury isn’t too serious, as that would put the Isles down three of their regular forwards, with Palmieri out for an undisclosed amount of time, too.
- Mat Barzal picked up his 24th assist of the season, which is now second in the league behind Nikita Kucherov’s 25. Barzal had a good game tonight, but his lack of finishing ability makes it hard for him to really break through in games like these.
Next, the Islanders head back home to UBS Arena to take on the Nashville Predators. That Friday night game will also be an ESPN+ exclusive, and it might be a tough choice for a bounce back game, as the Preds just always seem to get the best of the Isles. Maybe this game will be the one that breaks that streak!