ALLENTOWN -- Goalie Felix Sandstrom was at his acrobatic best and German Rubtsov scored a pair of goals in Wednesday’s rookie game between the Flyers and New York Islanders at the PPL Center.
But the Flyers blew a 3-0 lead and fell to the Isles in a shootout, 5-4.
The Islanders overcame a 3-0 deficit and tied the game at 4-4 with two goals early in the third period against relief goalie Kirill Ustimenko, who surrendered three tallies on the first seven shots he faced.
Oliver Wahlstrom scored the only goal in the shootout.
Rubtsov, who missed most of last season with the Phantoms after undergoing shoulder surgery, scored his second goal of the night when he tipped in a shot taken by Mikhail “Misha” Vorobyev with 14 minutes, 35 seconds left in the second period. The power-play goal gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead.
"I wasn’t feeling myself in the beginning,” Rubtsov said of Wednesday’s game, “but after the first goal, everything came back.”
Rubtsov, 21, a first-round pick in 2016 who scored six goals in 14 games with Lehigh Valley last season, is among numerous candidates for the Flyers’ third-line right wing spot.
The Flyers’ main camp begins Friday morning.
“We’re going to rock and roll," Rubtsov said with a smile.
Sandstrom had made 22 straight saves before Felix Bibeau’s power-play goal cut the deficit to 3-1 with 13:15 left in the second.
The 22-year-old Sandstrom played 32:30 and stopped 24 of 25 shots, including two breakaways, before being replaced by Ustimenko with 7:30 remaining in the second and the Flyers ahead, 3-1.
The Islanders dominated most of the first period but left the ice facing a 2-0 deficit. Sandstrom stopped all 17 shots he faced in the period.
“He played unreal,” said Morgan Frost, who hit the inside of the right post with a shot in the shootout. “They peppered us with shots in the first period and he was kind of our backbone. If it wasn’t for him, they probably could have had a couple goals in that first period.”
The Flyers were outshot by a 17-9 margin in the first, but late in the period they got goals 34 seconds apart from Rubtsov and defenseman Sean Comrie, a camp invitee.
Rubstov took a pass from Phil Myers and scored on a one-timer from the right circle with 1:44 to go in the first, while Comrie scored on a drive from just above the left circle with 1:10 remaining. Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe set up the latter goal.