Islanders Fail to Gain Ground in Standings with loss to Flyers

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NEW YORK – The Islanders let two points slip away in their 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, which kept them from gaining ground of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

It was an all too familiar turn of events at Barclays Center as an Islanders lead disappeared in the third period. The Islanders had put together a two-goal lead, despite being outshot and at times outplayed by the Flyers.

However, a goal by Wayne Simmonds late in the second period and the game-tying goal by Ivan Provorov less than two minutes into the third erased the lead. Claude Giroux sealed the comeback win when he tipped a wraparound attempt by Shayne Gostisbehere past Thomas Greiss 3:20 into the overtime period.

“We looked a little tired,” Islanders head coach Doug Weight said. “We got better as the game went on. Certainly in the third we played well. Not a mirror image of yesterday… We just didn’t have the same jump as yesterday, but no excuses.”

Sunday was the second night in a row that the Islanders have started off a game slow and blown a lead in the third period. JF Berube was quickly peppered by shots to start Saturday’s game, and Greiss faced a similar situation against Philadelphia.

The Islanders were outshot 15-8 in the first period alone and gave up another eight shots in the beginning of the second period, while only registering two of their own.

“Well the first 10 minutes were the same,” Doug Weigh said, comparing Saturday’s slow start with Sunday’s. “We need to figure out our starts. The first 10 minutes were kinda not in cement, but just in contain mode. Getting in on the forecheck, but not getting in on the forecheck.”

Despite the discrepancy in shots, the Islanders were first to get on the scoreboard. Nick Leddy scored on the rebound after John Tavares forced a turnover and his shot was stopped. The puck sat in front of Mason before it was kicked out to Leddy, who fired a slap shot from the slot.

Alan Quine made it 2-0 Islanders when he chipped a rebound over the shoulder of Mason 4:47 into the second period.

However, the lead was short lived as the Flyers responded at 14:10 of the second. After the Islanders failed to clear the puck out of their zone, Simmonds found the puck on his stick and wristed it past Greiss.

The Flyers evened the score less than two minutes into the third period. A shot from  Provorov ricocheted off the skate of Adam Pelech and past Greiss for the tying goal at 1:47 of the final frame.

“I don’t think we had much jam to our game for whatever reason,” Quine said about the Islanders’ performance. “Maybe just the turnaround. I’m not sure, but we know we need to be better.”

The overtime loss means the Islanders picked up a point on Sunday night and moved out of last place in the Eastern Conference, but are five points back of the final wild card spot, which is held by the Flyers. The Islanders hold three games in hand over the Flyers, but face two of the East’s best teams heading into the NHL All-Star break.

The Islanders are also in the middle of span that has them playing four games in eight nights. The team will have Monday off before turning their attention to Columbus on Tuesday.

“Just keep working,” Tavares said. “We’ll rest up tomorrow and get ready. It’s going to be a tough couple of games to finish off going into the all-star break. Each game is crucial for us.”


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