Flyers Lose in Shootout to Islanders... Again
In what should come as a surprise to nobody the Flyers and Islanders game had to be settled in extra time, with each team gaining a point. The Flyers then lost in a shootout in the fifth frame when Brock Nelson's shot went off the post and past Carter Hart, then Farabee missed the game typing opportunity, leaving the Flyers with only one point to show for the game. The Flyers played well again this week, which is frustrating considering they played much better hockey this week than the month of March but only have a 1-1-1 record to show for the week. With the Bruins winning 4-2 at the Capitals yesterday, the Flyers fall to 6 points behind the Bruins with 17 games remaining on the season.
The Flyers are finally starting to play decent hockey, but it is starting to become too little too late. Carter Hart had another solid start in goal, saving 21 of the 23 shots on goal during the game, and stuffing 4 of the 5 Islanders shooters in the shootout. Hart has been much better since taking a week off to rest and get some much-needed practice in after a rough month of March. The defense of the Flyers has also played much better, and has been more focused, and has had fewer turnovers getting out of the zone, which has led to fewer goals and fewer odd-man opportunities for the opposition. Guys on the offense like Jakub Voracek and Travis Konecny are starting to heat up as well, which could be a good sign if this team was ever going to make a run for the playoffs.
Despite falling down 2-0 after two goals from Brock Nelson and Jordan Eberle that were separated by 1:15 early in the first period, the Flyers were able to fight back and tie the game. Nick Aube-Kubel got the Flyers on the board and made the game 2-1 with a shot that somehow deflected off of Ilya Sorokin and into the Islanders net with 6 minutes left in the first. Jakub Voracek then tied the game early in the second period and just like that the game was back to even for the remainder of the contest. The Flyers, similarly to the Boston game on Tuesday, were on the front foot the rest of the game but failed to find the winning goal again.
Philadelphia found themselves lucky a couple of times as they found themselves man down for the remainder of the 1:55 left in OT as Kevin Hayes got called for a hooking penalty. Similar to the 5-minute penalty and game misconduct defenseman Sam Morin got in the first period, the Flyers were able to kill off the penalty despite chances for the Islanders. The best chance for the Islanders came from Matt Barzal who had a one-timer from just outside the red dots that Carter Hart made a good save on. Similar to last Saturday's meeting with the Islanders, however, the Flyers were unable to generate a goal in the shootout despite the great efforts of Carter Hart. Hart made 4 great saves but each time Sorokin made an equally good save on the Flyers shooters, and eventually, the Flyers would fall in the shootout again.
With all four teams above the Flyers in the playoff race (Capitals, Islanders, Penguins, and Bruins), playing good hockey it seems almost impossible at this point for the Flyers to make up the ground they have lost in the month of March. With the trade deadline coming up, the Flyers are now likely going to be sellers or not make many moves, similarly to the Eagles in last fall's NFL trade deadline. It is frustrating as a fan to finally see the Flyers skating and playing decent hockey, but not getting any results to show for it. I find it ironic that when the Flyers were winning games at the beginning of the season, but getting outshot, the fans were begging the Flyers to start shooting more. Now, in most games lately, the Flyers have been outshooting teams, but with fewer goals to show for it and are losing a lot more games.
Nothing is impossible, however, and the Flyers are not mathematically out of it. Every game from this point on is a must-win and with some help from some other teams, the Flyers could just maybe make it happen.