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Islanders 1, Flyers 0 (OT): Listen, you said you wanted defense

The Flyers only gave up one goal! That’s the good news. As for the bad news ...

NHL: New York Islanders at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Even when things are good this season, they’re bad.

The Flyers couldn’t beat Ilya Sorokin for 62-plus minutes, and a Nick Leddy pass in overtime went off of Travis Sanheim’s stick and past Brian Elliott for a 1-0 Islanders win. Sorokin stopped all 30 shots he faced from Flyers, while Elliott denied 27 straight before the game-winner. The Flyers largely controlled the first 40 minutes of the game, but once again couldn’t crack a team that always seems to have a step on them when all is said and done.

Relive this one, and its various ups and downs, with us below.


Pregame Worries:

  • Robert Hagg is back in for Phil Myers, and, you know what, OK. Fine. I am no one’s idea of the world’s biggest Robert Hagg fan, and getting Myers on the right track for next season is very important, but that increasingly does not feel like something that is going to happen in the final few weeks of this season. Sure. Let’s see it, Bobby Big Hits.
  • Brian Elliott in net again. Is Carter OK? I hope Carter’s OK.

The First Period

  • We’re off and running on Hockey Fights Cancer night at the Farg. Based on what we’re seeing, it is going to be Oskar Lindblom Night, and you know what, I’m just really happy for the guy.
  • After a sleepy first four minutes, the Flyers put their first shot and real chance on the board, as Travis Sanheim gives Kevin Hayes an excellent cross-ice feed and Hayes fires from in close on Ilya Sorokin, who denies him. This guy has had a few real good games against the Flyers this year. Would he consider having a bad one? Just for me, a person writing about a sport on the Internet?
  • Did a double-take when they called out Braydon Coburn’s name. Totally forgot he was there.
  • It took just more than half of the period, but the Isles are finally on the board. The part of the board that says “Shots”, not “Goals” — that’s their first shot of the period. It’s a good one, too, as Michael Dal Colle gets a step and has a chance in close on Elliott, who turns it aside.
  • The Flyers have another good shift, as a puck off the back boards turns into a decent chance for Farabee, and that one’s shortly followed a miss by Hayes, who’s been active so far.
  • We’re at the third commercial break of the period, and I feel like I should have more bullet points, but man, I just do not. This has not been invigorating.
  • Brendan Burke on the NBCSN broadcast points out that this is the first time all season that the Islanders have made a change to their group of defensemen without having to because of outstanding circumstances (i.e. injury/suspension) and I have absolutely no idea what it must be like to root for a team that normal and, uh ... what’s the opposite of dysfunctional. Functional? Functional. Imagine rooting for a team that functional. That’s messed up.
  • Flyers with a questionable backwards pass on an odd-man rush. Everybody takes a shot. (Not the Flyers, they don’t.)
  • Immediately followed by another odd-man rush, this one a 2-on-1 where JVR feeds Sanheim, and this time the goalie actually does have to make a save, which he does.
  • Another very good shift there with two good chances for the Flyers, one which Sorokin stops and another which misses the net. The Flyers have run the past few minutes of this game, which means that a demoralizing goal against is probably coming.
  • Aha! Shows what you know! That looked like it was gonna be it, but Elliott gets a chunk of Mathew Barzal’s 2-on-1 try and it goes wide from there.
  • Flyers get one last chance to generate offense as the period winds down, but the Isles get a stick in the passing lane and Provorov’s last-second chance after that is blocked. That’s all for the first period. We head to the locker room scoreless, with the Flyers leading in shots 8-4 and definitely getting the better of the run of play in what was nonetheless a pretty sleepy period. Flyers made Sorokin work hard on many of those seven saves, but boy, knowing their history with this Islanders team, it does feel like they’re gonna regret not getting one on the scoreboard.

The Second Period

  • After the Islanders have a decent shift in the Flyers’ end, Casey Cizikas trips Ivan Provorov behind the Flyers’ own net, and the Flyers will get the first power play of the game. I’m not terribly optimistic.
  • A blocked shot halfway through the power play almost turns into a disaster for the Isles, as it bounces to Farabee in front, but (guess who) Sorokin is there to snuff it out.
  • Whew, almost a problem as that penalty ended as Cizikas jumped out of the box for a 2-on-1, and he makes it in on Elliott alone (credit to Provorov for shutting out the passing lane) and his shot goes through Elliott’s legs but along the inside of his left leg and wide of the net from there. Mildly stunning that that did not go in the net.
  • The Flyers just had a 2-on-1 that turned into a 3-on-2 that ended with Scott Laughton skating with the puck behind and around the net. I just ... I don’t know, pals.
  • There’s the Isles’ best chance of the period, as Barzal fires a shot on Elliott and the initial save turns into a rebound chance for Jordan Eberle. Given how infuriating a game like this has to be for the goalie (not that many chances but most of them are real testers), have to be pleased with Elliott’s performance so far.
  • Pretty fair callout by the broadcast crew here: you rarely see the Islanders as sloppy on the puck as they’ve been tonight. The Isles are a pretty smart team and you’ve got to play smart to beat them; tonight, they haven’t really been that, not that the Flyers have taken much advantage of it.
  • Of course, then they pointed out that it’s been 126 minutes since the Isles scored a goal, so I think we know what’s going to happen soon.
  • Another netmouth pile-up, this one going from the stick of Hayes off of Coburn to Wade Allison, who finally gets a chance in tight but Sorokin falls on it as a mass of humanity converges upon the net. We’re past the halfway mark of this one without a goal.
  • Within about 15 seconds, both teams trade odd-man rushes that turn into booming slapshots that go just wide of the net — Brock Nelson for the Islanders, Claude Giroux for the Flyers. And then Sanheim, who has been extremely offensive in this game (in, like, a good way), puts another one on Sorokin.
  • Oh lord, I did not realize how close Travis Konecny had come to scoring until I saw that overhead angle on the broadcast. This game is painful. Deceptively fun for a 0-0 game, and not poorly-played by any stretch for the Flyers — pretty well, in fact — but painful.
  • After ANOTHER good Flyers shift, the puck leaks out of the zone and Pageau and Beauvillier get a 2-on-1 and I am not sure how Beauvillier did not put that in the net. (/sees replay) Ah. He lost control of the puck and by the time he did he ran out of room. OK. I’ll accept that.
  • Second period is over. Still scoreless. Brian Elliott has been good, Ilya Sorokin has been better. Shots are 23-13 Flyers. A pretty well-played game so far for the Flyers, but ... I just ... score a goal. Please.

The Third Period

  • Konecny blocks a shot from the point at close range in close and the bench gets up and absolutely roars for him as he painfully skates his way over to the bench. Will keep an eye on that ...
  • Welp. Hayes hooks Leo Komarov in the offensive zone — and that, while by definition a hook, is a reeeeal soft hook — and the Flyers will have to kill a penalty 1:57 into the third.
  • Not the cleanest kill — two decent chances for the Isles — but not a terrible one, and Hayes coming out of the box turns that shift into one real good chance and one OK one for the Flyers. Would have maybe liked a look better than an unscreened angle shot on the goalie who’s on fire tonight on that second shot, but so it goes.
  • NBCSN crew mentions Scott Laughton’s extension again and pivots that into talking about how the Flyers’ only loss at the trade deadline was that of Michael Raffl. This is Erik Gustafsson erasure, and I approve wholeheartedly.
  • Another first for Wade Allison! Not a particularly good one, though, as he’s caught holding Barzal along the boards and the Islanders (after about 40 seconds of extra-attacker time) are going right back to the power play.
  • Sean Couturier gets a step and has a partial breakaway, but Sorokin denies him and gobbles up the rebound. The Flyers still do not have a shorthanded goal this year.
  • One chance there, but on the whole solid PK for the Flyers. Still scoreless halfway through the third.
  • Isles definitely playing their game a bit more in this period, which is to say that the offense has largely been choked out of it in non-special teams situations.
  • Whoo boy, really tested the fates by typing that last one. Great behind-the-net feed from Matt Martin (?!?!?) gives a streaking Cizikas another chance in front.
  • Tip of the hat to Elliott, who’s had to be alert in this one. Wild how you give him (/counts on fingers) four nights off between games and suddenly he looks good, huh?
  • The Flyers had another 3-on-2 that went without a shot on goal. At this point I think they’re trolling us.
  • Another scramble, and for once Sorokin is actually down and scrambling, but an absolute rocket from Sanheim — who is firing from EVERYWHERE tonight — is blocked out of play by Pulock with just over two minutes left.
  • Flyers with two straight icings with just over a minute left. Hmmmmmmm.
  • Incredibly, that did not burrn the Flyers. That’s not to say it didn’t almost end in tragedy — a ghot by Pageau in the game’s final second required one last regulation save by Elliott — but we’ll go to overtime at zeroes. Not as clean a third period for the Flyers, but the heartbreak has not come. YET.

Overtime

  • The statline that just flashed on the screen just said that Brian Elliott is 9-2-8 career against the Islanders. How many of those eight have been in the last two or three seasons? Anywho, 3-on-3 time.
  • Provorov skates on in and Sorokin gets his 30th stop of the night.
  • After a decent-length shift in the Flyers’ own end, a miscommunication nearly leads to the Flyers ending up with too many men on the ice. Isles get another shot after that, but Elliott eats it.
  • Yep. There it is.
  • Oh no.
  • Oh noooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
  • Nick Leddy snuck on the ice on a change, he got a step on the Flyers on the ice, it turned into a 2-on-1, and Leddy’s cross-ice pass ... goes off of Sanheim’s stick and past Elliott and into the net.

1-0 is your final. Again, not a badly-played game for the Flyers by any means, but you just knew that not taking advantage of a really solid first 40 minutes was going to burn them, and frankly, at this point in the season, the extra point for the OT loss just kind of pisses me off.

Hey, though, you know what doesn’t piss us off? Three days of rest. The Flyers will take them. You’ll take them. I’ll take them. Back at it Thursday night in New York’s second most-famous train station. See you there. Go Flyers.