Listless. Disjointed. Generous. All words that could describe the Flyers play tonight. The first period was marred by an offense that lacked "jam," a transition game that lacked precision and a team that seemed hell-bent on giving away the puck. It didn't get much better after that.
Were it not for the play of Sergei Bobrovsky, who finished the game with 23 saves to his name, the Flyers would have went into the dressing room after the first period down by at least one.
At times there were flurries of offense for the Flyers, but there was a definite lack of sustained pressure in the Islanders zone throughout the first twenty minutes of play. Danny Briere was robbed, both by luck and by Evgeni Nabokov, on the best chance of the first not created by the penalty kill.
By far the brightest spot was the relentless play of the PK unit. Bolstered by some tenacious shifts by Max Talbot, the shorthanded minutes were the best from Philadelphia to that point.
Matt Moulson broke the tie notching a point in his sixth straight game. It looked like he had done so in the first period but a War-room review concluded that he kicked the puck in the net and the call on the ice was overturned. John Tavares earned a point in his 11th straight game assisting on the tally.
Perhaps the best save of the night came with a little over seven minutes to go in the middle stanza. A two-on-one led to Tavares driving to the net. After a Charlie Conway trio of dekes Bob used the ol’ telescopic pad to stop him. The puck, however, stayed on the goaline and almost certainly would have wound up in the back of the net were it not for the quick stick of Jakub Voarcek.
The play quickly turned back the other way and resulted in a penalty on the Islanders. However, it was not Philadelphia who would benefit.
Yet another breakaway, the fourth of the game to that point, would lead to a back-handed short-handed top-shelf goal by Josh Bailey.
After the goal, the Flyers were finally starting to show some signs of life when Claude Giroux, a natural red-head, decided to drop the gloves. There didn’t seem to be any real impetuous for the fight.
Giroux was battling hard with Reese in front of the net. The two traded crosschecks and slashes and the gloves came off. One can make the case that Giroux fought to spark his team though it’s equally as likely that he fought out of frustration.
Early in the third period Matt Read picked off an attempted clear, walked in alone on net and was slashed, leading to the third Philadelphia powerplay of the night. With Giroux's fighting major over, this looked to be the best chance for the Flyers to climb back into the game.
The all-too-familiar formula of over-passing, solid play from the opposing goaltender, and a few whiffed one-timers prevented the Flyers from cracking the scoreboard.
A scrum resulting in concurrent minors, and a Kimmo Timmonen hooking penalty led to some wide open 4-on-3 powerplay time for the Islanders. Mark Streit hammered home a one-timer passed Bobrovsky. A shot that he got more than a piece of and probably wants back.
Finally the Flyers were able to sneak a puck past the wall of Nabby. Sean Couturier let a wrister rip from the faceoff dot. Matt Read, perhaps motivated by keeping Scooters' goal streak at 5 to tie his own, tipped the puck into the twine. With the goal Read sits atop the league in terms of rookie goals.
After the goal Philadelphia woke up. The line of Scooter, Read and Wayne Simmonds were insatiable with the puck, creating multiple chances. That shift was followed by particularly energetic play by Jaromir Jagr and Giroux.
Ultimately the Flyers could not muster a win in the 12 minutes that they decided to play in this game. Grabner iced the victory for the Islanders with an empty netter.
Odds and Ends
• The CSN crew made a big deal out of a hit on Couturier in the first period. Scooter appeared to take a shoulder to the chin, whipping his head back and falling to the ice. The play looked fairly harmless and Couturier did not miss a shift.
• Matt Read continues to impress with his general hockey sense. In the second period the Flyers found themselves shorthanded when the Islanders committed a penalty. The 25-year old rookie had the poise and wherewithal to keep possession of the puck for as long as possible to run down the amount of 4-on-4 time the Flyers would have.
• Jagr, though he was held pointless again, seemed to have much more to his game tonight. It no longer looked like he refused to take the extra stride or put himself in a high-contact position. That said...he was a -2 but we all know how much +/- means.
Questions to Answer
- Can Bob possibly keep up his hot stretch against the Isles? He was hot, the team was not.
- Claude Giroux. Goals. Yes? Nope.
- The defense was quite good the other night on the offensive side of the puck. Can they keep that up? Mez picked up an assist on the only Flyers goal. Other than that there was really no offense from the defense.
- 14 straight wins vs. the Islanders in Philadelphia? You had to jinx it didn't you Travis?
There once was a team in Philly
Who thought the Islanders were quite silly
So they didn’t play right
At all that night
Made all the fans (and the coach) go "Really?"-Chemistry66, Unofficial Poet Laureate of Broad Street Hockey
Curvy bodies FTMFW!-doubleh, because this, and the image it conjures, was better than the game