Islanders’ four-game win streak snapped in fight-filled loss to Flyers

Islanders’ four-game win streak snapped in fight-filled loss to Flyers

PHILADELPHIA — On Tuesday, the Islanders lost two players, two fights and one game.

All in all, not a great night.

The rematch of Saturday’s affair between the Islanders and Flyers ended up bruising the Isles in more ways than one. First and foremost, they suffered a 3-1 loss to a Philadelphia team that came in having lost 10 straight, blowing what figured to be an easy pickup of two points.

Despite coming in on the back of four straight wins, the Islanders played a meandering game, ceding to the Flyers’ desire to keep the hostilities from Saturday alight at the start and then acting for the next 59:52 as though they were still seeing stars.

To add to the indignity, winger Josh Bailey was declared out with an upper-body injury shortly after taking warm-ups, during which Bailey participated in line rushes. He was declared day-to-day. Winger Cal Clutterbuck also left the bench during the first period. And it was the fourth straight game the Isles played without Kyle Palmieri, who didn’t make the trip.

Kevin Hayes, who scored the go-ahead goal, shoots the puck past Brock Nelson late in the third period for an empty-net goal, his second of the game in the Islanders’ 3-1 loss to the Flyers.

The night started with a carryover from the end of Saturday’s game, when Nicolas Deslauriers sparked a brawl by running Isles defenseman Alexander Romanov. Matt Martin and Zack MacEwen dropped gloves just seven seconds after the opening faceoff and after that got sorted out, Deslauriers and Ross Johnston followed immediately after the next faceoff.

Once things calmed down enough to take the match from 1976 back to 2022, the Islanders jumped out to an early lead with Noah Dobson scoring a five-on-three one-timer from Mathew Barzal at 3:12 of the first. Before the ensuing five-on-four had expired, though, Travis Sanheim tied the game up for the Flyers with a shorthanded tally that stemmed from a rush chance the Isles initially seemed to have quelled.

Kevin Hayes put the Flyers in front, 2-1, with a wrist shot straight off Lukas Sedlak’s faceoff win at 9:45 of the first.

Things would grow worse from there, as the Isles were left without an answer offensively.

The best chance they got came via Anthony Beauvillier with just under 15 minutes to go in the game. With Carter Hart out of the net, Beauvillier’s shot was blocked by Nick Seeler and he could not corral the rebound. Since that did not count as a shot on goal, the Islanders went over 10 minutes without one during a stretch of the third.

Matt Martin fight with Flyers' Rasmus Ristolainen during the third period of the Islanders' loss.
Matt Martin fight with Flyers’ Rasmus Ristolainen during the third period of the Islanders’ loss.

Kevin Hayes added an empty-net goal with 33.2 seconds to go to make it 3-1.

It’s possible that the bigger issue than the loss for the Islanders, who now sit at 15-9-0, is that they now have injury questions hovering over three of their forwards. It’s clear that their preference is to carry a 22-man roster and accrue cap space, but that is impossible with anyone hurt — let alone three players.

Palmieri and Bailey have both been designated day-to-day, leaving ample room for the possibility that they will quickly bounce back. But the situation bears watching.

The Islanders’ play left room for question as well on Tuesday.

They looked, in a word, tired. They were sloppy in their own zone, played lackadaisical hockey and paid for it. Had they managed to muster up just 20 good minutes, the Isles might have gotten away with it — they’ve done so before this season, and this Flyers side was not playing an inspired game itself.

But this was 60 minutes of hell, and the Islanders will be glad to put it behind them.

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