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5 Takeaways: Flyers Lose 6th Straight; Carter Hart Pulled

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Kevin Hayes, Ilya Sorokin, Philadelphia Flyers
Goalie Ilya Sorokin stops Kevin Hayes in the first period of the Islanders' win Saturday night. Photo: AP.

John Tortorella, who has been watching some late-season games from the press level, returned behind the Philadelphia Flyers’ bench Saturday night.

He probably didn’t like what he saw.

The New York Islanders took control in the second period and sent the Flyers to their sixth straight defeat, 4-0, at UBS Arena.

“We just couldn’t sustain,” Tortorella said. “We played in spurts.”

Philly went 0-4 on the road trip, during which it was outscored, 16-5. The Flyers have lost their last 10 road games.

Because of Pittsburgh’s 5-1 win over Detroit in the afternoon, the Islanders (41-30-9) started the night one point out of a playoff spot. But they jumped ahead of the Penguins with the victory.

With the Flyers (29-37-13) facing a 3-0 deficit, goalie Carter Hart was removed from the game at the start of the third.

“I didn’t feel like I deserved to be pulled, but it is what it is,” Hart said.

Tortorella wouldn’t explain why he pulled Hart.

“I just wanted to take him out,” he said.

Here are five quick observations.

1. Failed clears kill Flyers in opening period.

The Flyers controlled the first 14 minutes, outshooting the Islanders, 10-4, but were unable to beat goalie Ilya Sorokin.

And then defensive breakdowns cost the Orange and Black.

Scott Laughton and James van Riemsdyk couldn’t clear the puck out of the defensive zone, and Scott Mayfield’s point drive appeared to deflect off van Riemsdyk (minus-3) and past Hart. That gave the hosts a 1-0 lead with 5:51 left in the first.

2. The Isles showed why they are in a playoff race.

Strong goaltending has been the Islanders’ calling card this season. They entered the night second in the NHL, behind Boston, with a .915 save percentage.

Sorokin continued his excellence as he stopped 27 shots — most from the perimeter — and notched his NHL-leading sixth shutout of the season.

“When they get the lead, they don’t give up that much, and that’s when they’re rally good,” van Riemsdyk said.

3. Brock Nelson gives the Isles some breathing room.

Knowing they needed a win to get back into a playoff spot, the Islanders were huffing and puffing before Nelson made it 2-0 with 12:10 left in the second. He beat Hart to the stick side.

Nelson (34th goal) scored from the right circle off the rush, and the Islanders controlled the rest of the period. They made it 3-0 when defenseman Samuel Bolduc scored from the left circle off the rush with 4:54 to go in the second.

In the second period, the Islanders outshot the Philadelphia Flyers, 11-4.

4. Carter Hart was pulled to start third period.

Hart was replaced by Felix Sandstrom to start the third. Before being pulled, Hart allowed three goals — the third one he will want back — in 18 shots.

The 24-year-old goalie played Thursday in a 4-1 loss in Dallas, but missed the previous five games with an unspecified injury. He could face powerful Boston on Sunday.

The Isles made it 4-0 when Hudson Fasching finished a two-on-one and beat Sandstrom with 1:39 left.

5. Tortorella sending a message to Tony DeAngelo?

Maybe he just wanted to give Justin Braun a chance register his 200th career point Saturday. Or maybe he was sending DeAngelo a message that he needs to play a more complete two-way game.

Whatever the reason, Torts benched the 27-year-old defenseman for the second straight game.

Tortorella has been complimentary about DeAngelo’s offense and his passing to exit the defensive zone, but he hasn’t been happy with his defensive play.

DeAngelo leads Flyers defensemen with 11 goals and 42 points, but he has a team-worst minus-27 rating.

After this season, DeAngelo has one more year left on a contract that has a $5 million cap hit.

Breakaways

Owen Tippett split the defense and had a breakaway early in the game, but lost control of the puck and it went weakly on goal. He also hit iron with a shorthanded chance in the second. Tippett had eight shot attempts, including four on goal. … Zach Parise’s power-play goal with 7:55 left in the second was erased. The video review showed he scored with a high stick. … Ivan Provorov was minus-2 and had four giveaways. … Van Riemsdyk has 299 career goals. … Philly won just 34% of the faceoffs. … The Islanders are 13-6-2 without injured star Mathew Barzal. … The Lehigh Valley Phantoms clinched an AHL playoff spot Saturday. … The Flyers host best-in-the-NHL Boson on Sunday at 6 p.m.

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