What’s there to say here, folks? After a tough loss to the Capitals on Saturday, the Flyers were looking to rebound well last night against the Islanders, and all in all, they played a really solid game! They dominated possession and had a good numbers of quality chances, but Ilya Sorokin really had their number once again, and the Flyers weren’t able to cash in on any of those chances. We hit overtime with zeroes on the scoreboard, and then things broke down pretty spectacularly for the Flyers, and an own-goal sealed the win for the Islanders. So it goes.
All stats via Natural Stat Trick.
By the numbers
As we mentioned in our introduction, the Flyers had a really strong game from a possession standpoint, at least for the first 60 minutes, a sharp pivot from Saturday’s performance, even if it did end up taking an interesting arc.
This was a pretty weird one, in all honesty. This game had a pretty low event start, with the Flyers cruising into the final few minutes of the first period with an edge in possession but just four shots on goal of their own. A flurry of activity saw them nearly double up on shots in the last two or so minutes, getting up to seven on the period, and it sure felt like we were in for a real barn burner.
But the Flyers picked up the pace after the first intermission, and started getting quite a few more chances to work with. All told, they came out of this one with 51 shot attempts, 24 shots, and 20 scoring chances at 5-on-5. They were also pretty well able to limit the Islanders’ chances as well, and ended up with an adjusted 52.94 CF% and 61.54 HDCF%, picking up a pretty comfortable edge in possession. It wasn’t a perfect game from the Flyers’, but it was certainly one of their better performances in recent memory, and perhaps more than anything else, that makes the outcome even harder to swallow.
No, we’re never gonna stop talking about Wade Allison
The section title really says it all, doesn’t it? Wade Allison has been little short of a revelation since he debuted with the team—he’s been a whole lot of fun and quite effective, and we simply refuse to stop talking about him.
In terms of offensive output, he had a more modest showing this time around, with two shots and one scoring chance at 5-on-5, which is still a fine enough total. Really, though, his impacts were more noticeable away from the puck in this one. Despite it being the second game of the back-to-back, his energy was still up, he was strong on the forecheck and along the boards, and showed a couple of nice defensive plays, all on top of setting up a couple of nice chances, to boot.
And the underlying numbers reflect that, as he put up team highs in both adjusted CF% and xGF%, with 68.70 percent and 71.63 percent, respectively, and the Flyers were positively dominating in their matchups when Allison was on the ice. Everything really seems to be clicking for him right now, and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
Nothing going for the power play
After putting up a solid enough effort and picking up a goal on the man-advantage against the Capitals on Saturday, the Flyers weren’t able to replicate those results last night. In fairness, they only had the one power play to work with, but it still wasn’t really one to write home about. The Flyers really didn’t have a whole lot going on for them, with just five shot attempts and two scoring chances, and the Islanders did well to keep them to the outside, or even just chased out of the offensive zone entirely. Inconsistency has been the story for the power play throughout the whole of the season, and we just got a little bit more of that this weekend.
And as one quick final note: the Flyers, please put Allison in a shooting spot. The netfront thing worked the one time, but that quick release shot is kind of His Thing. So let him use it? Just a thought.
Notes on goaltending
For the second to game of this back-to-back, Brian Elliott got the nod for the start, and after four days off, you’ll probably not be surprised to hear that he played a really solid game. As we mentioned earlier, he really didn’t have too heavy of a workload through most of this game—he only faced 13 shots through the first two periods before the Islanders picked up a bit of steam in the third and tacked on 13 more shots. All told, he faced 28 shots and six high danger chances, and stopped all but one of them. He was really tested a few times in the third period, in particular, and came up big for the team with some clutch (and flashy!) saves to hold on to the tie and give the skaters a chance to do something in overtime.
There was one particularly dodgy moment that somehow wound up being okay, in which a puck trickled through Elliott’s five hole, but because he was out of position to begin with, slightly out of the blue paint, the puck slid past the side of the net rather than into it. So there was a bit of luck at work here, as well.
But jokes aside, it bears repeating the Elliott played a very solid game, and it’s a shame that he didn’t get rewarded for it with a win.
We had to know that this outcome was coming, right? The Flyers dominated for just about the whole of this game, took a huge step forward from the effort that they brought on Saturday, and did just about everything that they needed to do here. If there was ever a game that they really well and truly deserved to win, it was this one.
Which means we really should have seen this coming, if we’re honest. Because we are still deep in this extremely cursed season, it feels only natural that this one would end with the Islanders turning around and dominating possession, the Flyers getting a chance to clear the puck, Kevin Hayes turning it over, and then Travis Sanheim trying to get a stick on the shot to break up the attempt, only to deflect the puck into his own net. It’s a tough outcome, and in so many ways, it just feels right. Season’s cursed, can’t get away from it.