The New York Islanders dropped a 4-1 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum, which mathematically eliminated them from playoff contention.
“That’s frustrating,” rookie defenseman Travis Hamonic said. “No one ever wants to be playing down the stretch knowing that they’re not going to be in the playoffs. For us, we have some motivation, guys are obviously battling for their jobs for next season coming into camp and everyone wants to finish off on a strong note.”
Even though their playoff hopes were put on hold until next season, the Islanders are excited about their team and are extremely positive about the future.
“The young kids are getting an opportunity to grow in and play in a different situation that I think sped up their maturity process,” goaltender Rick DiPietro said. “They have really taken ownership of this team and all sorts of different guys have stepped into leadership roles. It’s nice to see… These last six games are important to us and we’re going to continue to work hard. We all want to win.”
As a team, the Islanders performed well on Saturday night; they controlled the majority of time with the puck and put up 37 shots on goal, compared to the Flyers 22 shots. But Sergei Bobrovsky was a brick wall, stopping all but one shot.
“Our work ethic (was so much stronger tonight),” Blake Comeau said. “Guys were moving there feet, forwards were shooting the puck, defense were jumping up in the play and were moving the puck quickly. We did a lot better things than we did against Atlanta where we were flat footed and we weren’t moving our feet. It was a lot better effort. It’s too bad we didn’t get the results this time.”
Even though it was a better effort than their previous game against the Atlanta Thrashers, Comeau said the team made it too easy for Bobrovsky. He scored the Islanders lone goal with a rebound from the paint at 10:28 of the first period, closing the gap 2-1.
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky #35 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks behind him at the goal scored by Blake Comeau #57 of the New York Islanders (not pictured) on March 26, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Flyers defeated the Islanders 4-1. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
“I guess the one thing that we could have done a little better was just trying to bare down on those second and third opportunities,” Comeau said. “It seemed like there were a lot of pucks in the crease that we just didn’t get to.”
Scoring wise, the first period was a bit rough on the Islanders. A pair of Flyers goals just 22 seconds apart set the stage for the rest of the game. Jeff Carter’s snap shot from inside the left circle after receiving a drop pass from Claude Giroux off the faceoff sent the Flyers ahead 1-0 at 8:11.
Definitely a momentum killer, the Flyers were able to capitalize on the Islanders very lack of energy and James van Riemsdyk pocketed his first goal of the night 22 seconds later (8:33). And before the period was over, the Flyers winger tallied his second goal of the contest (13:25), helping the Flyers take back their two-goal lead.
“It was obviously a tough start and it cost us the game, but I thought we played really well after that,” PA Parenteau said. “We were making plays and we were hard on the puck.”
The team put forth a much better second period and didn’t let up a point, but at 9:15 of the third period, van Riemsdyk recorded a power play goal for the hat trick, lifting the Flyers to a final score 4-1.
But you have to give it to the Islanders, they came out hard right from the start. Two fights broke out in the first 22 seconds of play. First, Micheal Haley dropped the gloves with Daniel Carcillo two seconds into the game and 20 seconds later, Zenon Konopka had a bout with Sean O'Donnell.
O’Donnell also scrapped with Matt Martin at 12:03 of the third period.