Saturday, January 18, 2014

Flyers need another rally to close out Islanders

Philadelphia, PA -- It's up for debate at this point in the season whether or not their penchant for comebacks is a good thing or a bad thing.

No one can deny that it isn't interesting, or keeps people glued to their seats or their living rooms until the final buzzer.

Claude Giroux assisted on the tying and go-ahead scores in the third period from linemates Jakub Voracek and Michael Raffl, and Philadelphia rallied past the New York Islanders, 6-4, on Saturday.

Andrej Meszaros tallied twice in the first period, while Adam Hall and Matt Read also lit the lamp for the Flyers, who tied a team record by erasing a third-period deficit for the ninth time this season.

His defense lacking, Steve Mason was pulled after allowing four goals on 24 shots in less than two periods. Ray Emery subbed and picked up the win with five saves the rest of the way.

"I thought they picked their game up. We played a real good third period but the first two periods are inexcusable," said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. "Mason was a victim of the team's poor play."

Stat which might mean something: After going 27 games from the start of his tenure here without allowing more than three goals in any appearance, the 25-year-old has allowed at least three scores in 11 of his last 17 times in the crease.

John Tavares, Cal Clutterbuck, Brock Nelson and Brian Strait scored for the Islanders, who look to gain points in the back end of this home-and-home set on Monday in Uniondale.

Kevin Poulin gave up five goals on 31 shots in defeat.

A no-look pass from Giroux in the slot to Voracek on the right wing zipped home at 7:14 of the third and knotted the game 4-4.

Giroux then made another slick move on the left wing, picking up his own blocked shot and passing backwards, where Raffl pumped home the lead score with 4:15 to play.

"Yeah, 'G' took the puck, got a good shot off, it got blocked and then I don't know how he saw me but he put it right on the blade and went in," Raffl said.

Poulin was sent to the bench with just over one minute remaining, but Read bounced the insurance tally into the empty cage shortly thereafter.

Things looked better for the last-place team in the Metropolitan Division early on. Thomas Vanek picked up a loose puck behind the Philadelphia net and fed in front to an open Tavares for the game's opening goal at 7:43 of the first.

Clutterbuck tapped in a Frans Nielsen feed seconds into a Flyers power play and the visitors led 2-0 at 11:54, and though the hosts failed to convert the remainder of the advantage, they eventually halved the deficit when a Meszaros shot from a sharp angle on the left wing rolled up Poulin's stick and through
his pads.

Meszaros then tied the score, working his way from the point into the left circle and beating Poulin with a high drive at 18:38.

He fell one short of being the first Orange and Black defenseman to record a hat trick since Andy Delmore in May of 2000. 

A shot from Mark Streit deflected off Hall's stick on its way to the back of the net with 3:45 gone in the second, and Philly led 3-2 after a brief review determined it wasn't touched with a high stick.

Tavares had a goal wiped out just before the eight-minute mark of the frame, as Vanek fell in front of Mason and obstructed his path to stopping the shot.

But Calvin de Haan's point shot at the tail end of an Islanders advantage was tipped by Nelson and eluded Mason for a 3-3 tie at 11:05 before Strait put Mason on the bench and the visitors ahead with six minutes left in the stanza.

"We got away from the way we were playing in the first two periods," Tavares admitted. "We played on our heels and they're going to come at you, they've got a lot of skill and it's a tough place to play in. You've got to play a full 60 minutes against these guys."

Notes: Philadelphia improved to 17-1-2 at home against the Islanders since the start of the 2007-08 season ... The Eastern Conference champion 1996-97 Flyers club won nine times after trailing at some point in the third period ... Mason was signed to a three-year contract extension worth more than $12 million, hours
before the start of the contest ... Read netted his first goal since Dec. 17 at Washington ... Meszaros' only other two-goal game as a Flyer came against the Islanders, in a 7-4 win on April 9, 2011 ... Philly finished an
incredible 39-for-58 (67 percent) on faceoffs ... Hall's marker was his first non-empty-net goal since Feb. 28, 2012 for Tampa Bay against Montreal ... Steve Duchesne is the last Flyers defenseman to score three times in the regular season, in a 6-2 win over the Islanders on Dec. 19, 1991.
Post a Comment