Flyers drop 4th in a row

This article can be found published on Center Ice Hockey Magazine’s website.
Captain Claude Giroux had two assists and a stellar move in the shootout Thursday night. (Candice Monhollan)

Captain Claude Giroux had two assists and a stellar move in the shootout Thursday night. (Candice Monhollan)

PHILADELPHIA — Two days ago goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov couldn’t remember the last time the Philadelphia Flyers won a game, and the date becomes even more hazy after a fourth straight loss, this time by a score of 4-3 to the New York Islanders in the shootout.

All the Flyers needed was a good start in which they scored first.

They got just that Thursday night, but seemingly faltered after a late goal from the Islanders in the second period and played a poor third, which cost them.

“It seems like we just freeze,” forward Scott Hartnell said. “That’s when their skill kicks in. Boom, boom, boom, and you’re down and you’re like, ‘Oh, what happened?’”

Instead of finding ways to win, the Flyers are finding ways to lose. They can’t play catch-up, they can’t hold a lead and no one can point a finger at where the problem may lie.

One thing is for sure, even though the Flyers may have a young roster, veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen refuses to blame them.

“We can’t put the blame on the kids,” Timonen said. “They have to learn and maybe this is the learning period. There’s us older guys, we’ve got to be better, we’ve got to be the leaders out there.”

The Flyers looked to have been better against a team who was five points ahead of them in the standings. A quick start with a power-play goal on a flubbed shot from Hartnell 4:14 in led to a build from the team. They closed the period with a great pass from Claude Giroux to Mike Knuble, who deked goaltender Evgeni Nabokov out of the net for an easy goal with 2:45 left in the period for a 2-0 lead.

The game leveled off in the second, but with exactly a minute left in the period, a backhander from John Tavares hit off Luke Schenn’s body and Erik Gustafsson’s skate into the net.

From there, it was downhill.

Coming into the game, the Flyers had a minus-15 goal differential in the third period and they showed why.

“We’ve just got to bear down when we’re up,” Hartnell said. “We just stopped doing what we did in the first period. It’s frustrating to watch. We know we’re doing it, and there’s nothing you can do. I don’t know what the answer is.”

Just over halfway through the third, Colin McDonald tied the game and five and a half minutes later, his shot from the high slot redirected in off Bruno Gervais to give the Isles a 3-2 lead.

Fortunes turned for the Flyers when Frans Nielsen took a penalty with 1:32 left in regulation after playing the puck with his hand on a draw – a new rule implemented this season – and gave the Flyers a 6-on-4 with Bryzgalov pulled.

A scramble in front of Nabokov with a mass of bodies led to Hartnell’s second of the night to tie the game at 3 with 29.8 seconds left in the third.

Despite some sloppy play from the Flyers in their own end during overtime, the Islanders weren’t able to capitalize and headed to a shootout. Going four rounds, Josh Bailey sealed the win for the Islanders.

The Flyers could take a point away from the game, but it hardly was a source of comfort for the team.

“It sure seems like a loss right now,” Hartnell said. “We’re lucky to get a point, obviously. It would have been nice to get two points, but you’ve got to be happy with one, I guess.”

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Categories: Ice Hockey, NHL, Sports

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