Flyers Fan Reaction (FFR1) Gm 68: PHI 5, NYI 2 - Egged
Who's your pajama daddy now, Islanders?
For the second time in six days, the Philadelphia Flyers come into Nassau and egg the egghead himself Barry Trotz and his New York Islanders with another dominant victory, this time by a 5-2 tally.
Honestly, this game played out nearly exactly like the last time these two teams met last Sunday. The Flyers rode a solid goaltending performance from Brian Elliott, a good PK, and timely capitalization of their scoring chances to force Trotz to pull his goalie all the way to a convincing victory. The Flyers might not care about style points at this part of the season, but they earned some for a solid road effort Saturday night.
The only major difference from last game was the start. Whereas TK started the scoring last weekend, this time it was the Islanders getting on the scoresheet first. Scott Mayfield put a seemingly innocent point shot on net, but Corban Knight had a brief identity crisis and seemed to think he was a member of the Islanders. That's the only reason why he would stick out his stick for a perfect redirection that beat Brian Elliott and gave the Islanders the early lead.
Having seen and heard all the chants and cringeworthy videos from the Tavares return saga, the Flyers surely didn't want to surrender another goal and risk Nassau nearly that energy level. Thankfully, they didn't let that happen. With Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere back on the ice together, Provy threw the puck in front for a redirection by Ryan Hartman. Thomas Greiss made the initial save, but Hartman batted home the rebound for his first goal as a Flyer, tying the game at one.
And with that, we go to 1st interm-oh wait, we're not done. As time wound down in the frame, Travie Sanheim took advantage of the clock and jumped up on the rush, finding Jake Voracek charging to the slot. Greiss kicked away the initial save, but put the puck right on the stick of James van Reboundsdyk, who buried a backhander past Greiss with just 3.7 seconds left in the period to give the Flyers their first lead, sucking the life out of the Nassau Colliseum.
That goal seemed to be particularly damning for the Islanders, because they came out flat in the 2nd period. Philly dominated the first 5 and a half minutes of the period, and were rewarded with 2 goals. Sanheim and Voracek connected on another great passing play, this one ending in an elite 1st line center Sean Couturier bomb past Greiss. Then Giroux took advantage of an over-aggressive Greiss and a lax Islanders defense to center his own rebound to that rosy cheeked sniper Nolan Patrick, extending the lead to 4-1.
That's when the Flyers decided to feel bad about the course of the game and gave the Islanders a 1:34 long 5-on-3. It didn't go well. Mathew Barzal sat on the bench for its entirety, and the only time the puck did go in it didn't count, as the referee thought Brian Elliott had full control and had already blown the whistle. New York took control of the rest of the stanza however, outshooting the Flyers 13-5, controlling play, and were rewarded with a 3-on-1 snipe from Travis Konecny wow I'm sorry but that's too good.
Greiss got the hook at 2nd intermission, but the goalie change did little to spark the Islanders. Most of the 3rd went by quietly and quickly. Until Jake Voracek laid a reverse hit on a charging Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk went down and did not return, but what was most surprising was Voracek was given 5 minutes (but not a game misconduct) for the hit. Granted, it was interference. But it didn't appear the principle point of contact was the head (Boychuk appeared to have hurt his shoulder), and it didn't appear malicious.
The hit appeared to make Voracek nearly as hated as Tavares. When he exited the box, he was met with a chorus of boos and a series of fists, first drawing a roughing penalty and then taking a coincidental penalty with Leo Komarov while drawing a Scott Mayfield misconduct in the process. It's the angriest you'll ever seen a team over a (checks notes) borderline minor penalty body check. Time wound down before tensions could escalate further, and the Flyers got the two points they so desperately desired.
Now, before we get into game notes, I'm going to deviate from the usual pattern of these articles. I want to ask Flyers fans a question. I forgot to include the fact I was at the Flyers-Caps game on Wednesday, front row right behind the net the Capitals shoot at twice (I had a great celebration on TV to the Myers goal). I usually don't take a lot of pictures, because I am to photography as Jori Lehtera is to the Flyers, but I managed to snag this one right before puck drop.
It's a pretty cool picture if I do say so myself. But out of everything in this shot, the words on the jumbotron stick with me. Are you ready?
That's not just a message for that game. It's a message for every single Flyers fan. It may not be this year. It may not be next. But sometime in the future (probably, hopefully sooner rather than later), the Flyers are going to be great. They are going to win Cups. With a "s."
But until then, are you ready? For whatever comes next. Whether they win out and make noise in the playoffs or lose out and then fall in the lottery, are you ready? For Starter Hart? For Chuck Fletcher to make his mark? For the good, bad, and ugly that always comes to the forefront of Flyers hockey? If you aren't sure what to do think of this team, of your fandom, ask yourself, are you ready? If not, feel free to leave. Come back when things are coming up roses. But if you take the red pill (Matrix reference) and say yes, well, enjoy the ride.
Spring is coming. And so are the Flyers. Buckle up.
With 2 assists tonight, Voracek becomes the 15th player in Flyers history to score 500 points in the Orange and Black. Surprisingly, he's the first European to do so (joining 13 Canadiens and 1 American).
Give all the credit to Brian Elliott for a great bounce back effort. Scott Gordon easily could've gone to Cam Talbot, but stuck with Elliott, and was rewarded with 25 saves on 27 shots in a solid performance.
Talbot almost did have to play in this one. On the shot that trickled past Elliott but didn't count because of the quick whistle, Elliott was clearly stung and went down for a moment. Jim McCrossin came out, but Ells was fine to finish the job.
Starter Hart update - Hart is healthy, per Gordon, and although he didn't backup Saturday he could start Monday. Easing him back in against the Senators seems like a smart plan.
Still not a fan of keeping Claude Giroux on the right boards on the PP, but check out this tweet from Dave Isaac on Gordon's thoughts behind the decision (https://twitter.com/davegisaac/status/1104540212825333765 because I still don't know to embed tweets or hyperlink).
The Islanders defense has looked like they were in 2017-18 form the last two games against the Flyers. Saturday was the first time since December 6th that New York allowed 5 or more goals in a game. It seems like the Islanders maybe, just maybe, have already hit their peak. Maybe.
Corban Knight passed the POG helmet off to Radko Gudas, who was a key part of that massive 5-on-3 PK.
1st - J. van Riemsdyk (PHI) - 1 G, 1 A
2nd - S. Gostisbehere (PHI) - 2 A
3rd - T. Sanheim (PHI) - 2 A
PHI - 3/11 vs. OTT (23-40-6 with no 1st round pick lol)
NYI - 3/11 vs. CBJ (38-27-3 - Isles please win)