The New York Islanders could not take advantage of an early lead, falling 6-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center Thursday night.
The Islanders opened the scoring at 1:35, but their opponents were able to overcome the early strike for the third straight game.
“They out-muscled us,” Jack Capuano said. “On three goals we had coverage, but they were stronger on their sticks and stronger on the puck than we were. That’s the disappointing part. We had our opportunities. We have to battle a little harder one-on-one.”
Josh Bailey opened the scoring for the second straight game and Casey Cizikas assisted on the opening tally for his first career NHL point. The 1-0 lead lasted until the 9:41 mark when Flyers rookie Matt Read netted his 17th goal of the season.
With under a minute remaining in the first period, Matt Read redirected a point-shot by Andrej Meszaros past Evgeni Nabokov, ending the Isles streak of seven straight kills in Philadelphia.
The Islanders responded early in the second as Bailey finished a smooth passing play from Frans Nielsen and Mark Streit to tie the score at two. The Flyers broke the deadlock eight minutes later as Jaromir Jagr threw a backhander on net, beating Nabokov. Thirty-nine seconds later, the Flyers took advantage of a stunned Isles team as Read snuck behind the defense deflecting home his second goal of the game.
Down by two at the start of the third, Scott Hartnell scored his career-high 31st goal upping the deficit to three goals.
“That early goal in the third kind of took the wind out of our sails,” Cizikas said.
The Islanders showed some pushback late, as Kyle Okposo scored on one knee from the dot, one-timing a feed from Cizikas. But 5-3 was as close as the Isles would come, as Sean Couturier iced the game with an empty-netter at 19:33.
“It’s up to us to work harder,” PA Parenteau said. “I don’t think it was enough tonight, especially on the wall. We lost too many battles. We didn’t play a bad game besides that five minutes.”
The loss ended Nabokov’s two-game win-streak in Philadelphia. Entering Thursday’s game, Nabokov turned aside 85 of his last 86 shots at Wells Fargo Center, but allowed five goals on 29 shots on the evening. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 21 of 24 for the win.
The Islanders wrap up their four-game road trip with a 1 p.m. matinee in Boston on Saturday.