Islanders Ground Flyers 7-4 Heading Into Break

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TONIGHT’S RECAP

To analyze the first period statistically, you would think the Flyers would be the ones who jumped out to a 2-0 lead at the intermission. Philadelphia led in shots, attempts and faceoffs and had some nice runs of play in the offensive zone. But New York would be the ones to capitalize on their opportunities.

Michael Grabner got things going when he took a delicious cross ice pass from Johnny Boychuk and absolutely ripped a laser over Rob Zepp‘s glove. They would add to their lead when Boychuk slammed a puck against Zepp’s pads and Nikolay Kulemin pounced on the rebound and slid it into the vacated cage.

The Flyers had their chances with the top line featuring Claude Giroux looking dangerous, but the Islanders did a fantastic job of clogging the middle of the ice and not allowing anything of real consequence to get to Jaroslav Halak, back in net after Saturday night’s drubbing in Montreal.

The second period opened up quite a bit with each team starting to take penalties. Kulemin blocked Matt Read‘s point shot with his team shorthanded and buried a breakaway for his second of the afternoon to put the Islanders in their most uncomfortable lead of the past six weeks. Ex-teammate Mark Streit would strike back on the power play, squeezing one through Halak’s pads with a blast from the high slot on a power play before Josh Bailey would make a beautiful adjustment to a Zepp rebound (again) to collect his 8th of the season. Bailey now has collected eight points in his last six games playing with captain John Tavares and Kyle Okposo.

Nothing was solved there, however, there was more to come in the frenetic middle frame. Michael Del Zotto took advantage of some careless play by Calvin de Haan in the low slot to squeeze one into the Islanders net, cutting the lead to 4-2. Once again, however, New York did not ask the question, but provided the answer. With 7.6 seconds remaining in the second, Okposo and Brock Nelson did some handy work on the left-wing wall to feed Frans Nielsen, who found Tavares all alone in front of replacement goaltender Ray Emery. Tavares waited patiently, looking to pass, before roofing a backhand for his team leading 21st.

The teams would continue their back and forth in the third period with Claude Giroux converting a gift from Halak (again – he should probably NOT play the puck anymore…like ever), Nick Leddy notching his 7th on a screen , Claude Vandevelde tipping in a Luke Schenn shot and Anders Lee closing out the Islanders pre all-star break schedule with an empty net tally to produce the final score.

It was certainly not a clean game defensively, and by the look on head coach Jack Capuano’s face in the postgame press conference, he knew it. But they go in top of the Eastern conference and nobody can complain about that, no matter how they got there, today or otherwise.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Isles lost the faceoff battle on this night, 35-26
  • New York had 61 attempts on net to the Flyers 52. On goal it was 41-29 Islanders.
  • The Isles had 59(!) hits to the Flyers 39.
  • Cal Clutterbuck was credited with 10 hits and Matt Martin 9,
  • Tavares led with 8 shot attempts, 6 on goal.
  • Sean Couturier of the Flyers was -5 on the afternoon.
  • Isles once again did a fantastic job on the opponent’s best player, holding Giroux to a goal on 1 shot in 17:04

INSIGHT’S THREE STARS

  • 3. Michael Grabner: Set the tone early with his snipe, used his speed and was dangerous all game long
  • 2. Travis Hamonic: Played a tough, physical game and was engaged in the rush.
  • 1. Nikolay Kulemin: 2 goals, outstanding penalty killing and fore-checking.

STATISTICS

Islanders

GAME VIDEO

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