The Philadelphia Flyers fell victim to an all-too-familiar script on Thursday night. Two defensive mistakes ended up in the back of their own net early on, they climbed back into it, but couldn’t get over the hump in a shootout loss.
Ivan Provorov has struggled this season, but he had a few mistakes that were even uncharacteristic for him that resulted in the Islanders scoring twice in a 1:03 span. The Flyers were able to recover with a strong penalty kill and a gift of a goal from Ilya Sorokin to cut the deficit to one after the first period. The second period was a better one for the Flyers, but they were only able to score one goal. Granted, it was a pretty good one, but it was still just one.
Let’s break down the four goals from Thursday night’s shootout loss.
Islanders goal No. 1: Provorov loses Nelson on backcheck
After a rather even start to the game, the Islanders scored two quick goals after the first commercial break. Both goals were after mistakes by Ivan Provorov.
On the first goal, the Flyers won the faceoff in the offensive zone and it looked like they might get something going. However, Provorov’s point shot was blocked into the slot, leading to a rush the other way. At first, it doesn’t look good for the Flyers. The Islanders have a potential 4-on-3 in the works, or at the very least a 3-on-2 rush.
Oskar Lindblom was turning around to cover for Provorov, with Braun doing his best to get back on the right side of the ice.
Provorov got back to even up the rush, though, with each Flyer having a man – at least that’s how it looked.
Lindblom kept the puck carrier, Ryan Pulock, to the outside, with Braun marking Anthony Beauvillier. Provorov was ahead of Brock Nelson, the eventual goal scorer.
As Pulock went around the net, Braun tied up Beauvillier and Provorov still had positioning on Nelson.
It all fell apart, though, with Provorov losing Nelson in front, allowing the Islander a one-time shot on net.
From the behind-the-net angle, you can see Provorov take two peeks at Nelson.
There really wasn’t much Carter Hart could do on this one. Lindblom and Braun did what they were supposed to, but Provorov lost his man and it cost him.
Islanders goal No. 2: Provorov loses an edge, Braun in no man’s land
It was a first period that Provorov will want to forget. The young defenseman hasn’t lived up to expectations this season and that continued on Thursday night.
The sequence on the Islanders’ second goal started with another offensive-zone blunder by Provorov. He couldn’t control the bouncing puck on a pass, and his shot was blocked after he was finally able to corral the puck.
Scott Laughton then kicked the puck back towards his own zone, where Provorov had to deal with Mathew Barzal.
The speedy Barzal forced Provorov behind his own net and the defenseman tried to turn the other way to slow things down.
Unfortunately, Provorov lost an edge and fell down. That resulted in an odd-man situation in front for the Islanders and, once again, they took advantage of a Provorov mistake.
Braun isn’t getting off scot free here, though. The turnover may have caught him off guard, but he needs to do a better job of either taking the man with the puck or the man in front. Instead, he was a statue in the crease that Jordan Eberle easily evaded.
Credit to Leo Komarov for making the nifty pass to Eberle, but it shouldn’t have been as easy as it was.
Provorov isn’t going to include that 1:03 stretch on any of his highlight reels.
Flyers goal No. 1: Aube-Kubel exits, enters, and scores
The Flyers’ first goal was a gift by Ilya Sorokin. Nicolas Aube-Kubel fired a shot towards the net that the goalie redirected into his own net. It looked like the shot was heading high and wide, even.
But we can’t ignore the work by Aube-Kubel to get into a position to shoot the puck. Sure, it should’ve just been a missed shot, but he did the little things right leading up to that.
Aube-Kubel found the puck in the defensive zone then exited his own zone and entered the Islanders zone with control.
He found the loose puck after a Travis Sanheim turnover, then eluded Jordan Eberle in the neutral zone to enter the zone with control. He fired the shot through Scott Mayfield and it found its way into the back of the net.
A goal is a goal.
Flyers goal No. 2: Vintage Voracek from Giroux and Konecny
The Flyers’ second goal of the game was one of their best plays in quite some time. Robert Hagg got to a loose puck off a blocked shot to start it off. He got the puck up the wall to Travis Konecny, who took control and sent a perfect cross-ice pass up to Claude Giroux.
Giroux found himself on a 2-on-1 rush with Jake Voracek. With the defenseman shaded towards his side, he quickly slid a backhand pass to Voracek. Voracek received the pass and fired a shot on net, almost all in one motion, to beat Sorokin and tie the game.
It was a thing of beauty. From the Hagg pass up the boards to Voracek’s shot, it was as cool as the other side of the pillow.
Unfortunately, despite the Flyers playing well for 50-plus minutes in the game, that was the final time they beat Sorokin in the game. They went scoreless for the final 36:38 of regulation, five minutes of overtime, and five rounds in the shootout. It was another frustrating loss after a strong performance by the Flyers.