clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Islanders 2, Flyers 1: Rusty after the All-Star break

The Flyers’ long break didn’t do them any favors against the Islanders.

New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Following an eight-day gap between games thanks to the All-Star break, the Philadelphia Flyers were back in action Monday night against a New York Islanders team that’s dominated the headlines over the last few days. The Isles made a big splash last week by trading for longtime Vancouver Canucks star (and second cousin of Travis Konecny) Bo Horvat. And with Horvat now inked to an eight-year, $68 million contract, the 27-year-old forward took the ice for what was his first of many games with his new club.

But while the Flyers managed to keep Horvat off the scoresheet, they were unable to keep the Islanders from earning a pair of points as they fell to their division rival 2-1 at Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers looked like a rested, but rusty team — particularly in the game’s early going. They were outshot 16-7 in the first period and fell into an early hole when Kyle Palmieri broke the ice with a power-play goal to give his squad the early lead. Before Palmieri’s marker, the Islanders were held goalless in their last 26 attempts on the power play. Mathew Barzal later added to the Islanders with a redirection off a Noah Dobson wrister.

“It was men against boys in the first period. Played better in the second,” said head coach John Tortorella. “We had a lot of ‘almost’ chances. I thought we were a little sloppy offensively. It looked like we were going to get a chance and James (van Riemsdyk) has a couple of tap-ins but go by him. Just a lot of ‘almost’ offensively.

“After the first period I thought we played better. Third period, it was kind of nondescript by both teams. That team knows how to check. They know how to protect the lead. Veteran group, good sticks. We’re gonna find out about some people when we start playing these games here in the checking part of it because teams are gonna ramp that up and it’s gonna be really interesting to see how guys react.”

Of all people, Nic Deslauriers cut the Isles’ lead in half with a redirection score of his own in the middle frame. However, his goal wound up being the Flyers’ only tally of the night.

While Carter Hart didn’t pick up the win, he did put together another strong performance to follow up his 40-save shutout against the Winnipeg Jets in the Flyers’ last game back on January 28. He stopped 28 of the Islanders’ 30 shots, but the goal support just wasn’t there for him.

A win on the same day Tortorella admitted to fans that the club is still “not there yet” would’ve been invigorating to some sectors of the fan base, but the long break between games certainly didn’t do the Flyers any favors. Of course, for those hoping for optimal draft positioning, though, a loss in regulation is just what the doctor ordered.

Still, the players aren’t interested in a higher pick for the draft — regardless of what the fans think. While they fell to a division rival, they didn’t simply lay down and cry uncle like previous Flyers teams would have. And that recurring theme is a promising development as the team looks to form a long-term identity.

“Any game from here on out is gonna be tight,” said Hart. “I think we’ve done a good job of playing our way back into the conversation of the playoff race over the last month of January and December. Now we just have to bear down for these last 30 games and it’s gonna be a battle ‘til the end.”

The Flyers will be back in action Thursday when they host the Edmonton Oilers on Broad Street. They’ll then tackle another back-to-back set this weekend, taking on the Nashville Predators Saturday afternoon before facing off against the Seattle Kraken Sunday afternoon — right before the Eagles win the Super Bowl.

Go Birds.