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Flyers’ Losing Streak Reaches Five After Overtime Loss to Islanders

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

The Philadelphia Flyers’ losing streak lives on as they dropped a 4-3 overtime thriller to the New York Islanders.

After Noah Cates opened the scoring just under five minutes into the game, the Islanders scored two goals in 18 seconds to take the lead heading into the second period courtesy of Matt Martin and Bo Horvat.

Samuel Ersson was pulled in lieu of Ivan Fedotov and just 17 seconds into the middle frame, Travis Sanheim tied the game up with a coast-to-coast effort. Anders Lee reclaimed the lead just before the period ended but Morgan Frost tied things up with just 9.6 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, Frost turned it over in the defensive zone to Kyle Palmieri who set up Brock Nelson for the overtime winner. The Islanders are now four points back of the Flyers with two games in hand, but more importantly, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning and now sit one point back with a game in hand.

Fedotov made 19 saves on 21 shots but earned the loss, Ersson allowed 2 goals on 6 shots in the first period, and Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves for the victory.

The plot continues to thicken as the Flyers have lost a lot of ground in their push to the playoffs with 4 consecutive defeats – the last two coming against the basement of the NHL. Tonight, they welcomed the Islanders, a team who sat 5 points behind the Flyers in the standings but have 2 games in hand, marking this game as a must-win for Philadelphia.

After bottoming out against Chicago on Saturday night, John Tortorella decided to mix things up and promoted captain Sean Couturier to the top line to centre Tyson Foerster and Travis Konecny. Cam Atkinson also earned a promotion as he was on the right wing with Morgan Frost and Owen Tippett. Jamie Drysdale was activated from injured reserve and was paired up with Nick Seeler, Samuel Ersson earned another start and another attempt at win #22, while Denis Gurianov, Bobby Brink, Ronnie Attard, Adam Ginning, and Marc Staal were made healthy scratches.

As for the Islanders, it’s been a roller coaster of emotion over the last 2 months. They lost five of six games, then won six straight, and then rung off six straight defeats. They’ve alternated between wins and losses in their last four games with a 4-0 defeat coming at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Offensively, they were paced by Mathew Barzal‘s 74 points, Noah Dobson‘s 66 points, Bo Horvat‘s 29 goals and 63 points, Brock Nelson‘s 29 goals and 60 points, and Kyle Palmieri‘s 24 goals to round out the top five. In goal, Semyon Varlamov earned his third straight start and fourth in the last five games with Ilya Sorokin currently mired in a six-game losing streak. Varlamov looked to improve on his 9-8-4 record, 2.83 GAA, and .912 SV%.


At the 4:57 mark of the first period, Noah Cates got the Philadelphia Flyers on the board after he absolutely ripped a shot bar-down past a befuddled Semyon Varlamov for his 4th goal of the season and first tally in his last 15 games. Cates corralled a bouncing puck in the neutral zone and danced around Brock Nelson before firing away as he entered the offensive zone.

With 7:57 remaining in the period, Scott Laughton‘s airmail attempt out of the defensive zone hit Erik Johnson‘s skate and landed right in the slot to Matt Martin, who was able to gather the puck and fired through traffic as it squeaked past Samuel Ersson for his fourth of the season and just his second goal over his last 31 games.

18 seconds later, Bo Horvat ripped a shot short side over the blocker with speed as he danced around Jamie Drysdale. Leading to the goal, Sean Couturier was driven into the boards by Ryan Pulock and he headed straight to the locker room as Horvat scored his 30th of the season.

Then with 5;25 left to play in the first period, Egor Zamula was sent to the penalty box for a delay of game minor. The Flyers desperately needed a strong kill and they delivered as they kept the Islanders at bay and created the most dangerous chance off the stick of Laughton.

The Flyers played a strong 19:42, created more chances, had a lot of dangerous scoring opportunities, and even scored the game’s opening goal. Their forecheck was strong, they successfully killed a penalty, but that 18-second sequence killed them with the Islanders scoring two goals and taking a one-goal lead into the intermission.


Leading the Flyers out for the second period was goaltender Ivan Fedotov, who replaced Ersson after another rough period.

Eerily identical to their second period against Chicago, the Flyers scored 43 seconds into the period after Travis Sanheim went coast-to-coast before ripping a seed of a shot glove-high past Varlamov for his 10th of the season.

It was a highlight-reel goal from Sanheim who bullied his way past Horvat before skating into a hole with four Islanders sweaters around him as he entered the offensive zone.

The Flyers later fumbled the puck as they entered the offensive zone coupled with a bad line change, which allowed the Islanders to jumpstart Mathew Barzal on a breakaway. However, Fedotov was up to the task with a big glove save for his first real tester of his NHL career.

After Tyson Foerster flubbed a shot in the offensive zone, the Islanders went the other way on an odd-man rush which was stopped, but Barzal drew a hooking minor against Cam York in the process. The Flyers killed off their second straight penalty but unlike the first one, the Islanders generated a lot of chances – all easily read by the large netminder.

The Islanders continued coming in waves, firing 13 shots towards Fedotov in the first 11 minutes with a lot of them being real dangerous scoring chances. The Flyers on the other hand had just two shots during that stretch, one of them being Sanheim’s goal in the first 17 seconds of the period.

At the 13;28 mark of the period, the Flyers were awarded a power play after Anders Lee was found guilty of high-sticking Travis Konecny. It was a battle of the worst power play (13%) versus the worst penalty kill (71.7%) in the league with the latter coming out on top against the former. The Flyers fired one shot towards the net but didn’t really test Varlamov in a key situation.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau drilled Johnson into the boards – no call – but then Konecny turned the puck over as his clearance attempt was kept in at the point. Alexander Romanov‘s ensuing point shot was deflected by Lee for his 19th of the season with just 2:06 left in the period.

The Islanders controlled the period through and through as they entered the final frame of regulation with a one-goal lead. They held a 16-3 edge in shots in the period and were up 22-14 through the first 40 minutes. Couturier also had not returned after his collision in the first period, although the Flyers had yet to rule him out of the game.


32 seconds into the the third period, Nelson was awarded a tripping minor. The Flyers’ power play was so abysmal they made the 32nd-ranked penalty kill of the Islanders look like world-beaters. Zero urgency, no pressure, no awareness, and too much positional movement for almost no reason at all.

With 3:35 remaining in regulation, John Tortorella pulled Fedotov for an extra attacker. They were unable to set up for a large portion of it, however with 9.6 seconds remaining in the game, Morgan Frost banged away in front of the net to tie things up after Jamie Drysdale’s initial shot from the point found it’s way through traffic.

The Flyers threw the kitchen sink towards Varlamov all period as they outshot the Islanders 19-3 and after a few scary moments with the net empty, they were finally able to keep the puck in the zone and set up offensively before Frost’s 13th of the season sent this game to overtime.


After a few controversial overtimes where Tortorella started with more defensive options, he sent out Laughton, Foerster, and Sanheim to open up the 3-on-3 session, followed up by Konecny, Frost, and Drysdale.

Unfortunately, Frost lost control of a pass from Drysdale in his own zone, and Kyle Palmieri scooped up the puck and went around Drysdale before feeding Nelson in the slot for his 30th of the season.


The Flyers are off until Friday night when they start a back-to-back set on the road, starting off in Buffalo (7:00pm ET, NBCSP).

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