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Islanders 5, Flyers 3: Hart and the defense underwhelm on Long Island

Pittsburgh on Tuesday, folks.

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Not a lot of things went right for the Philadelphia Flyers tonight as they dropped a 5-3 decision to the New York Islanders on Long Island. Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, and Claude Giroux registered goals in the loss, while Carter Hart stopped just nine of 14 shots on the night before he was pulled in favor of Brian Elliott (who stopped 19 of 19).

Whether it’s because they’re tired from storming back for last night’s win, tired from the general traveling to start the season, or tired of playing well the Flyers didn’t have it tonight. After Voracek opened the scoring not much went right for the Orange and Black as poor defensive play and poor goaltending resulted in five pucks finding the back of their own net. Hart allowed some poor goals against, but he didn’t exactly receive the most support from his teammates on a few plays. Whatever issues Hart is battling through at the moment really shouldn’t be looked at as long-term issues. He’s 21 years old. He already has a shutout and possibly the save of the year this season and the Flyers have played a grand total of ten games. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t looked off or downright terrible at times, but let’s try to put things into perspective and maybe calm down. If he still looks this way in January then we can start to be concerned.

As for the game, Voracek tapped in a beautiful centering pass from Travis Sanheim for his fourth of 2019-20 to give Philly a lead just 1:07 in.

Unfortunately the Isles not only leveled the score shortly after but also took the lead thanks to a pair of goals both Hart and Sanheim may want back. Hart fumbled a rather innocent point shot from Johnny Boychuk to create a rebound that Anders Lee was able to pounce on before Hart or Sanheim to tie the game 2:10 after Voracek’s tally. Just 1:05 after that Derick Brassard beat Hart with a shot on the odd-man rush that should have never got past the 21-year-old netminder. Ross Johnston ended up extending the lead to three with 8:14 left in the first period after Cole Bardreau (yeah, the same one that couldn’t beat Jori Lehtera for a roster spot) cleaned up a Sanheim turnover behind the net before he set up his teammate in front.

Despite all the sloppiness that came with the first period the Flyers ended up exiting the first period down by just a goal thanks to Konecny, who redirected a Justin Braun shot from the point past Robin Lehner with 3:22 left in the first stanza.

This was the last feel-good moment of the night for the Orange and Black, as an unscreened point shot from Ryan Pulock and a Matt Barzal tally on the rush came 1:25 apart early in the second to essentially end Hart’s night. Although Barzal’s goal took place with 14:22 left in the second period, Hart wasn’t pulled until there was 11:14 left in the second period partly thanks to the Islanders’ hilarious arena.

Elliott was great in relief as he turned away a handful of high-end chances from the Isles early in the third period when there was, theoretically, time for Philly to march back. Despite Giroux’s ability to get one of the three goals Philly needed, the team ultimately fell short on a day most of the team would like to forget.

Answering Tonight’s Big Gigantic Questions

1. Will Carter Hart return to form?


2. Can the penalty kill keep the momentum going?
Although they weren’t called upon often when it was close tonight, the penalty kill did have a huge kill when the game was still within reach. After the team went down 2-1 and seemed to be reeling a bit, Shayne Gostisbehere took an ill-advised (not the only time you can use that word with Ghost today) penalty in the d zone after a pretty poor turnover. Not only did they kill the penalty, but they equaled New York in shots at one during the kill as Giroux set up Chris Stewart for a shorthanded bid early in the special teams’ sequence. They only had one other kill on the night, as Giroux sat for hooking Michael Dal Colle late in the game, but for a team that is looking for reasons to believe the penalty kill has changed the kill in the opening frame is huge.