The Philadelphia Flyers were cruising. One of their best periods in quite some time had them up 3-0 after two periods of play. They just had to shut the door for 20 minutes to get two points on Long Island.
The Flyers ended up getting those two points –– in regulation ––, but it was harder than it needed to be. The Islanders scored three goals in 6:34 to come back and tie the game at three with 5:33 left in the period.
It wasn’t a particularly bad period for the Flyers in terms of their process. They had more 5-on-5 shots (10-7) and an Expected Goals-For of 48.3%, yet lost the period 3-1. A few key plays changed the game in the Islanders’ favor before the Flyers retook the lead for good.
Dal Colle beats Carter Hart
The Islanders’ first goal was one that Carter Hart will want back. Michael Dal Colle scored his first goal of the season on a seemingly harmless wrist shot from the top of the circle.
The one critique is Claude Giroux biting on Bailey’s fake to Brock Nelson on the near side. It put Giroux out of position and Justin Braun had to take away the center lane. That left the far side of the ice open for Michael Dal Colle.
Still, that’s a shot that Carter Hart needs to stop. The defense in front of him could’ve been better, but this goal was on Hart.
The Flyers then hunkered down for a bit and even killed off a penalty. The Islanders’ power play expired with 6:32 left, and 25 seconds later it was a 3-2 game.
Leddy walks in and feeds Aho
The real problem with this goal was how easily Nick Leddy was able to navigate the neutral zone. He skated around Joel Farabee and a flat-footed James van Riemsdyk. Sean Couturier then tried to cut off a passing lane but instead opened one up for Sebastian Aho. Leddy threaded the needle through two sticks to Aho, who beat Hart.
After killing off the penalty, the Flyers needed to do a better job of clogging up the neutral zone. Leddy exited and entered the zone with speed and no one was on Aho, who raced down the right wing.
On the surface, this was another goal that Hart should’ve stopped. He made himself a bit small, but the puck did end up ramping up off of Travis Sanheim‘s stick. That completely changed the trajectory of the puck and it snuck by Hart.
Wide-open Wahlstrom in front
The Islanders tied the game just 34 seconds of game time later off of an offensive-zone faceoff.
The Flyers battled for the faceoff, but the Islanders came away with the puck. Nick Leddy eventually got the puck on the near side of the ice. With three Flyers bearing down on him, a wide-open Oliver Wahlstrom crept towards the backdoor. Hart nearly got across to make a tremendous save, but it bounced in.
Wahlstrom snuck behind the defense and was wide open. The below frame shows it pretty well.
Lindblom pressured the puck at the point off the faceoff, so it makes sense that he was up high. Sanheim is up a bit high for a defenseman, but that was where he was headed off the faceoff. He’s on the left side and taking away a lane. With him going up so high, Philippe Myers goes to cover the man near the net.
The player who is most out of position is Konecny.
Konecny, the right winger on this line, followed Sanheim up to the left point for some reason. That left no one on the right side in front of Hart, and Wahlstrom delivered.
The broadcast view of the goal shows the poor positioning.
The situation also could’ve been avoided if Giroux recognized the pass a split second earlier, or if he had turned to see Wahlstrom right as Leddy corralled the puck off the wall.
Carter Hart had no chance on the Islanders’ third goal and didn’t have much help on the second, but he was hard on himself after the game.
“Definitely need to make some more saves in the third period so they don’t come back in the game,” Hart said of his performance, “but at the end of the day we got the two points.”
“Just chipping away at things right now,” Hart said of his confidence level. “Getting back to playing my game and trusting the game that I’ve built. I think it’s coming. It’s going in the right direction.”
The Flyers overcame their third-period collapse this time, but they won’t always be so lucky. Defensive mistakes need to be minimized in the third period of any game, let alone the third period of a game with a 3-0 (or even 3-1 or 3-2 lead).