5 Flyers-Isles observations: Travis Konecny gets (odd) milestone goal, but losing streak reaches 8
New location. Same result for the skidding Philadelphia Flyers.
In other words, another loss. That’s eight in a row if you’re scoring at home.
Playing for the first time ever at UBS Arena, the Flyers fell to the New York Islanders on Monday, 4-1.
Here are some impressions:
1. The Flyers seem to find new was to fall behind and chase the game.
They allowed the first goal Monday, the sixth time that has happened in their last seven games.
To be honest, the Flyers would have had a 1-0 lead against most goalies, but Ilya Sorokin was sensational, especially when the game was scoreless. That brings us to …
2. Sorokin, who starred in Russia’s KHL before joining the Islanders three years ago, is virtually unbeatable when he faces the Flyers.
He entered the night with a 5-0-1 career record against Philly, along with a 1.58 GAA and .944 save percentage.
So it shouldn’t have been surprising that he twice stopped an all-alone Scott Laughton in front — once on a two-on-none pass from Travis Konecny, the other time on a golden shorthanded chance — to keep the game scoreless.
“Really, the story was Ilya Sorokin,” said Isles coach Barry Trotz, who returned behind the bench after being in COVID protocol.
The clutch saves were magnified when Brock Nelson’s perfectly placed shot from the top of the left circle gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead as he beat a screened Martin Jones with 8:16 left in the second. The sequence started when the puck bounced off Ivan Provorov in the neutral zone and went to the Isles’ Josh Bailey.
Starting with tomorrow’s #Flyers game vs. the New York Islanders, the city of Philadelphia requires all guests without a religious or medical exemption to show proof of vaccination in order to enter the WFC. This policy applies to fans 5 years and three months old and above.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 18, 2022
3. The Flyers were sloppy on two early power plays and missed a chance to score first and set the tone.
They had poor entries, and didn’t set up any quality chances against Sorokin, managing just one shot, total, on the two power plays. The Isles finished with a 13-8 shots advantage in the opening period despite having to play shorthanded for four of the 20 minutes.
This was not the start the Flyers wanted in their quest for their first win since a 3-2 overtime victory in Seattle on Dec. 29.
The Flyers’ power play was out of sync all night and went 0 for 4.
The Flyers were much better in their five-on-five play than with an extra skater.
“I thought the game was there for us tonight,” said interim coach Mike Yeo, whose team will get another crack at the Islanders on Tuesday. “A lot of the things we’re trying to incorporate generated a lot of momentum for us. You look at the second period and the chances we had. … We’re working extremely hard for anything we get right now, but there are still times in the game where we just give up something too easily.”
4. The layoff didn’t affect defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s aggressiveness.
Ristolainen, who missed the previous two games because of COVID-related reasons, was his feisty self and got into several physical battles, including two in front of the net with Matt Martin. But the 6-4, 221-pound Finland native was on the ice for the Islanders’ first two goals.
Ristolainen led the Flyers with five hits.
A double doink, celly and career milestone. #PHIvsNYI | #BringItToBroad pic.twitter.com/oFsZWM8wur
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) January 18, 2022
5. Nice to see Konecny finally get his 100th career goal because the right winger has created and had numerous scoring chances, but has been snakebitten for several weeks.
Yes, it was a lucky goal, but it makes up for the numerous times Konecny was robbed by a goaltender. With 2:48 left in the second, Konecny got the Flyers within 2-1 when his pass deflected off defenseman Noah Dobson’s shoulder and past a stunned Sorokin.
“I was happy for him because I’ve felt his game was coming,” Yeo said.
“It’s kind of bittersweet, but I’ll take it,” Konecny said after ending a 20-game goal-less streak.
But instead of gaining momentum from the fluky goal, the Flyers allowed Anthony Beauvillier to score from out front, putting the Isles ahead, 3-1, with 15:16 left in regulation. Poor plays by Travis Sanheim and Provorov enabled the Islanders to keep the puck in the zone before Beauvillier tallied.
Martin’s late empty-net goal made it 4-1 after James van Riemsdyk hit iron down the other end.
The Flyers have now played in 79 different arenas since the franchise started in 1967-68. … The Flyers will host the Islanders on Tuesday. … Flyers public-address announcer Lou Nolan is feeling well, but he will miss his second straight game Tuesday because of COVID. … Philly has scored two goals or fewer in its last six games. … Since his NHL debut in 2016-17, Konecny is third on the Flyers in goals scored, behind only Sean Couturier (124) and Claude Giroux (118). He is the ninth player in the 2015 draft class to score 100 goals.