A 3-0 deficit proved insurmountable, as the Islanders wrapped up a three-game road trip with a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center.
“We were down 3-0 in the second period before it even started,” Kyle Okposo said. “It’s frustrating that you can have a mental lapse for five minutes and lose a hockey game because of it. We have to address that, it seems like it’s been happening on a nightly basis.”
After playing to a scoreless first period, the Flyers opened up the game early in the second, scoring three goals in a 3:02 span. Matt Read potted a Sean Couturier rebound to open the scoring at 0:46, before Wayne Simmonds’ shot deflected off Andrew MacDonald’s stick and beat Kevin Poulin 59 seconds later. Flyers captain Claude Giroux put his team up by three, hammering home a loose puck on a broken play at 3:48 with Thomas Vanek in the box.
“They put a few together right away and it was a big shift in momentum,” MacDonald said. “We weren’t able to recover for a while, but eventually we came around. It’s mainly lapses and then we show our true colors and come back hard after, but that’s not going to be good enough in this league.”
Giroux’s power-play goal ended Poulin’s night, as Anders Nilsson made his season debut in relief. Poulin stopped 13-of-16 shots in 22:02, while Nilsson saved 12-of-13 the rest of the way.
The Islanders got on the board later in the second period, asTavares notched his 10th goal of the season. Due to an icing call, Tavares started the shift on the bench while his linemates were on the ice, but he joined the rush and redirected a beautiful feed from Thomas Vanek past Steve Mason at 14:04.
The Isles found some momentum after the Tavares goal and carried it into the third period, as Eric Boulton scored his first goal of the season, sliding home a Casey Cizikas pass off an offensive zone draw at 2:39. The assist gives Cizikas points in five straight games (3g/2a).
Despite their push, the Islanders could not even up the score and the Flyers added an insurance marker at 12:21. Brayden Schenn corralled a Nilsson rebound in the slot and put the puck in the back of the net for his seventh.
Read added an empty-netter to ice the game at 19:11.
Mason finished the night with 36 saves as the Islanders outshot the Flyers 38-30. The Islanders power play went 0-3 while the Flyers converted one of their three opportunities.
Coming off their sixth back-to-back set of the season, the Islanders are off until Wednesday, when they host the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Coliseum. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
NOTES: Thomas Hickey left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return… Andrew MacDonald led the Islanders with 26:59 TOI and four blocked shots… John Tavares had a game-high seven shots… Thomas Vanek’s assist was his third point (2g/1a) in two games since returning from an upper-body injury… Anders Nilsson played his first game since the 2011-12 season.
60 Kevin Poulin
19 Scott Hartnell – 28 Claude Giroux – 93 Jakub Voracek
10 Brayden Schenn – 40 Vincent Lecavalier – 17 Wayne Simmonds
24 Matt Read – 14 Sean Couturier – 9 Steve Downie
37 Jay Rosehill – 18 Adam Hall – 36 Zac Rinaldo
44 Kimmo Timonen – 5 Braydon Coburn
8 Nicklas Grossmann – 32 Mark Streit
29 Erik Gustafsson – 22 Luke Schenn
35 Steve Mason
29 Ray Emery