One preseason game down, six more to go.
The Flyers opened their exhibition season with a 3-1 loss Monday to the New York Islanders at the new-look Wells Fargo Center.
Defenseman Luca Sbisa, a former Flyers first-round draft pick, gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead by scoring on a point drive with 17 minutes, 36 seconds left in the third period.
The puck may have deflected off a defenseman in front of Flyers goalie Alex Lyon.
As expected, there were some sloppy moments in the teams’ first game.
“In exhibitions, you’re going to get some of this, where the execution is a little off. It’s quite normal," Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “It’s the first game. The players have to get their timing.”
Vigneault said there were “quite a few teachable moments” in a contest in which the teams were a combined 0 for 9 on the power play. The Islanders were 0 for 5, and the Flyers were 0 for 4 and had just one power-play shot.
The Flyers outshot the Isles, 26-16, including a 12-6 advantage in the middle stanza.
“I really liked our second period," Vigneault said. “Thought we played at a better tempo, a North-South type of game where we made their defense turn a little bit more and used our size down low.”
Just 2:03 into the game, the Islanders took a 1-0 lead when defenseman Thomas Hickey’s shot hit off goalie Brian Elliott’s glove and trickled through his legs.
James van Riemsdyk converted a Jake Voracek pass to knot the score at 1-1 with 15:33 left in the second. Kevin Hayes, playing in his first game with the Flyers, also recorded an assist on the play.
Late in the second period, Hayes led the way as the Flyers killed a two-man disadvantage that lasted 1:55.
Hayes was the Flyers’ best player.
The second period also included Chris Stewart decisioning the Islanders’ Kyle Burroughs in a fight. Burroughs had knocked down Stewart before the bout started.
“The guy caught me with my head down,” said the 6-foot-2, 243-pound Stewart, who is a battling for a roster spot. “And good for him to answer the bell (in a fight), and it gave me a chance to step up. I respect that.”
Elliott stopped 11 of 12 shots before being replaced by Alex Lyon midway through the second period.
The Islanders closed the scoring on Erik Brown’s empty-net goal with 50.7 seconds remaining.