The Philadelphia Flyers are in a rut. A very deep rut.
After a bounce-back win on Thursday night, the Flyers came back with a lackluster effort on Saturday. The Islanders took a 4-0 lead in the first period and the Flyers just couldn’t recover. It was a 6-1 final score on Long Island.
Sean Couturier was a late scratch due to a lower-body injury. He’s an important piece of the Flyers, but even he may not have made a big difference in this game.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau opened the scoring on the power play.
It was a bad-luck goal for the Flyers as the puck bounced right to Pageau off a blocked shot. But the snowball started rolling down the hill and the Flyers haven’t been able to stop it this season.
Less than two minutes later, Jordan Eberle scored after some chaos in the crease. The Flyers got outworked and Eberle found the puck first.
Allowing goals in quick succession has been a problem this season. That reared its ugly head again on Long Island.
Once again, just over two minutes later, Casey Cizikas beat Carter Hart with a shot after Nate Prosser fumbled the puck at the blue line.
Finally –– for the first period at least ––, the Islanders mercifully waited over five minutes to score their fourth goal. Jordan Eberle was completely unmarked by Erik Gustafsson on the backdoor.
That was the Islanders’ fourth goal in 9 minutes and 13 seconds. Against a team like the Islanders, falling behind by one goal can feel like a huge deficit. Two is tough enough. Once you get to three or four, there’s not much hope of coming back at all.
At least Oskar Lindblom responded after the fourth goal. He immediately went after Oliver Wahlstrom on the next faceoff for his first career fight.
It was a spirited bout by Lindblom.
Then, the Flyers finally got on the board. Scott Laughton did a good job in the neutral zone to create an odd-man rush and Joel Farabee sniped a goal.
Farabee has been one of the Flyers’ bright spots this season and that continued on Saturday night.
The Flyers trailed 4-1 after one period of play. They came out completely flat in the middle game of an important three-game series.
The first period could’ve been a lot worse, too. Carter Hart erased a Nate Prosser turnover in front and there were several other chances for the Islanders.
The second period was a bit better for the Flyers, but that wasn’t too difficult after such a poor first period.
It was a rather uneventful second period, but the teams were fairly even. At 5-on-5 play, each team had 13 shot attempts with the Flyers having a 7-6 advantage in shots on goal. They couldn’t solve Ilya Sorokin, however.
The Flyers also couldn’t take advantage of a few power plays throughout the game. It makes you wonder if they’re missing Shayne Gostisbehere, who was a healthy scratch for the third straight game in favor of Erik Gustafsson and Nate Prosser.
The Islanders finally got on the board again in the third period. Nate Prosser passed the puck straight to Anthony Beauvillier and it was 5-1.
The Islanders had a mini 2-on-0 in front and Hart had no chance.
The Islanders’ sixth goal was all on Hart, however. He did his best Nate Prosser impression and Josh Bailey hit the open net.
Mercifully, that was it for the Islanders.
A 6-1 loss would normally be the worst defeat of the week –– if not longer –– for a team, but it didn’t come close to the 9-0 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday night.