Game Recap: Flyers vs. New York Islanders

Listless.  Uninspired.  Ridiculous.  Whatever type of adjective you want to use to describe the Flyers’ performance in Long Island last night better be met with the most important word of all: unacceptable.

Okposo, Comeau, and the Isles simply wanted it more than the Flyers

In a game that would have put the Flyers in the driver’s seat for the East’s sixth seed, the Flyers instead disregarded the game itself and played out of their system and into a loss.  It’s something that had head coach Peter Laviolette so angry in the first period that during his timeout (Flyers were trailing 3-0 at the time) he was yelling at the team so much he lost his piece of gum he had been chewing on.  He found a replacement piece.  The Flyers, however, did not find a replacement game.

The game started out oddly enough: an innocent Blake Comeau wrister re-directed off Danny Briere’s stick and over the shoulder of Brian Boucher to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead early.  Just 5:06 later, Comeau tried a wrap-around, which redirected off Lukas Krajicek’s skate in the crease and into the back of the net to give the Isles to garbage goals, but nonetheless a 2-0 lead.  The situation did not look promising early for the Flyers, but it got worse.  Fast.  Just 28 seconds after Comeau picked up his second of the evening, the Islanders streaked in on a 2 on 2 rush with Jon Sim and Frans Nielsen baring down on Chris Pronger and Matt Carle.  Advantage Flyers, right?  Not so fast: Sim threaded the puck through Pronger’s legs and right onto the tape of Nielsen who had blown by Carle and buried the one timer for the 3-0 lead.  Not even a full twenty minutes into the game, and the Islanders led the contest by three.

To the Flyers credit, they came out in the second period like gangbusters and nearly got an early goal back, but James van Riemsdyk’s stuff attempt in front was stoned by former Flyer Marty Biron to keep the shutout in tact.  A few minutes later, the Islanders scored – again – off a weak wraparound that hit one of Boosh’s skates and trickled in.  The goal was credited to Sean Bergenheim and it gave New York a 4-0 lead.  The Orange and Black finally got on the board at 12:26 of the second when Scott Hartnell fed a beautiful pass to Arron Asham, who buried the one-timer past Biron and into the net to cut the deficit to 4-1.

Scott Hartnell and Arron Asham celebrate Ash's second period goal

However, it was too little, too late for the Flyers.  Boucher let in an awful goal in the early stages of the third and was pulled for the NHL debut of youngster Jeremy Duchesne.  The Flyers did tally three goals in the third to make the game close as Powe, JVR, and Briere all found the back of the net, but Duchesne let up a goal in his brief frame of work to give the Islanders the two goal cushion and the victory at the final buzzer by a score of 6-4.

So there it is, and that’s that.  The Flyers, who had won fifteen straight games against the Islanders, picked probably the worst possible time to drop a contest to their Atlantic Division rivals, because they had a chance to move up in the standings.  Nonetheless, the Boston Bruins and Atlanta Thrashers both lost last night, so the Flyers maintain their status as the East’s sixth seed due to having more wins.  Look for a preview for tonight’s big game in Philly against the Montreal Canadiens shortly.

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