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
January 20, 2014, 9:25 pm
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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.

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