Role reversal: Flyer unravel in third and blow late lead in shootout loss to Islanders

Role reversal: Flyer unravel in third and blow late lead in shootout loss to Islanders

The theme of the Philadelphia Flyers’ recent play has gone like this: fall behind early, comeback in the third period to win or send into overtime or maybe a shootout for at least a point.

Monday afternoon on Long Island, the Flyers’ fortunes were reversed, but not in a good way, and they left Long Island without an extra point in the standings they probably should have had.

The Islanders scored twice in the third period to tie the game then eventually defeat the Flyers in a shootout by a score of 4-3.

Matt Read, who scored twice, and Wayne Simmonds had the Flyers’ tallies in regulation.

Philadelphia got on the board first when Read led a shorthanded rush and flicked a beautiful backhander over the glove New York netminder Anders Nilsson for his 12th goal of the season.

Islanders would tie on a John Tavares power-play goal but the Flyers responded when Simmonds cut to the slot, found his own rebound and poked it underneath Nilsson for his 17th goal on the year.

It was Simmonds 12th goal in his last 17 games. In fact, Simmonds is tied with Tavares – a Canadian Olympian – for the most points in the league over the past five weeks with 22 each.

Just before the end of the second stanza, Read blew past an Islanders defenseman and roofed the puck over Nilsson for his second goal of the day and to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead. It was Read’s 10th goal against the Islanders in 14 career games against them. That’s what you call ownership.

But that’s where all the warm, fuzzy feelings ended for the Flyers as the wheels came off in the third period.

The Islanders came out in the third and totally outworked and outhustled the Flyers at basically every turn. The Islanders carried the play in the period as the Flyers returned to their bad habits of sloppy play, turnovers and bad penalties that seems to keep rearing their ugly head at times over the past few weeks.

New York got a goal from Brock Nelson midway through the period to cut Philadelphia’s lead to one. And then the inevitable occurred when Steve Downie – who lost his hearing aid at one point in the game – took an awful holding call with just under five minutes left in the third.

Kyle Okposo would cash in on the ensuing power play and knotted the game at three a piece. The game would go to overtime.

After both teams had a flurry of chances in the overtime period, the shootout was in order.

Both Claude Giroux and Read scored in the shootout but I’ll let you take a guess at what happened.

Frans Neilson, Tavares and Opokso all beat Ray Emery and the Islanders got the extra point.

Stupid shootout.

You can’t blame Emery for this loss. He made 40 saves and was under siege throughout most of the afternoon. This was more about the Flyers not being able to keep up with and work as hard as the Islanders. It was also more about the Flyers sitting on that third-period lead and not forcing the play enough.

The even worse news coming out of this game was that Jake Voracek left in the third period and didn’t return after taking a slash on the left hand from New York’s Cal Clutterbuck.

Voracek, who is third on the team with 35 points, will be reevaluated on Tuesday in Philadelphia but will obviously be a big loss if he has to miss any time.

The Flyers will be back in action tomorrow night when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at Wells Fargo Center, weather permitting.

What do shootouts and snow have in common? They both stink. A lot.

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat 114-84
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks 114-110
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

DETROIT -- Brandon Dubinsky scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the surging Columbus Blue Jackets won their fifth straight game, 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Lukas Sedlak got his first NHL goal for the Blue Jackets, who have earned at least a point in 12 of their last 13 games. Cam Atkinson contributed a short-handed goal in the first period for Columbus.

Dylan Larkin's power-play goal in the second was the only scoring of the night for the Red Wings. Sergei Bobrovsky had 32 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Sam Gagner scored into an empty net with 13.9 seconds remaining (see full story). 

Staal scores in 6th round of SO to lift Wild over Oilers
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored in the sixth round of a shootout and the Minnesota Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday night.

Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker scored in regulation for Minnesota, which has won three straight.

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves. He entered with a league-best .946 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against average.

Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had goals for the Oilers, whose four-game losing streak began with a 2-1 home overtime loss to the Wild last Sunday.

Staal scored on a backhand deke before Nugent-Hopkins fired wide in the sixth round (see full story). 

Raanta, Rangers beat Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime
CHICAGO -- Nick Holden scored 55 seconds into overtime, Antti Raanta made 26 saves against his former team and the New York Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Friday night.

Derek Stepan passed from the boards to a streaking Holden in the middle of the ice, and he beat Scott Darling on the stick side for his fourth goal of the season.

Darling was going for his second straight shutout while subbing for injured starter Corey Crawford but had to settle for another solid performance.

Raanta, who made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2013 and played for the Blackhawks for two seasons before he was traded to New York, improved to 15-0-3 in 20 career appearances at the United Center.

The 27-year-old Raanta had 17 saves in Thursday's 2-1 victory at Winnipeg, and coach Alain Vigneault opted to give him a second straight start over Henrik Lundqvist because of his recent play and his success in Chicago (see full story).

Oshie, Johansson, Grubauer lift Caps over Sabres 4-1
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson each scored a goal, Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Jakub Vrana and John Carlson also scored, helping Washington beat Buffalo for the third time in 15 days.

Kyle Okposo scored and Robin Lehner made 25 saves for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost three of their last four.

Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 6:43 into the second period when he lifted a shot from the right edge of the crease past Lehner. Jay Beagle drew two defenders into the corner and sent the puck back to a wide open Oshie for his ninth goal of the season (see full story).