Flyers go cold again in loss to Islanders
NEW YORK - The Flyers ended their franchise's fifth-longest scoring drought earlier in the week, but their offensive funk continued Wednesday night in Brooklyn.
They scored an early goal but didn't generate many quality chances the rest of the night and fell to the New York Islanders, 3-1, at the Barclays Center.
The Flyers haven't scored an even-strength goal in 257 minutes, 58 seconds, more than four games ago. Their last even-strength goal was scored by Claude Giroux on Nov. 17 in a 3-2 shootout loss to Los Angeles.
They have scored one goal, total, in goalie Steve Mason's last three starts.
"It's been a struggle, obviously, the last few games to get the puck in the net, and for the goaltenders there's no room for error right now," said Mason after making 33 saves. "It just puts that much more emphasis on trying to be as perfect as possible. Just go out and focus on stopping the puck, and you just hope that the goals will come."
The Islanders iced the win on Frans Nielsen's empty-net goal with 1:09 left.
Making their first-ever appearance at the Barclays Center, the Flyers (7-10-5) missed a chance to put together their first two-game winning streak since Oct. 24.
The Flyers were outshot, 36-18, including 15-4 in the final period. After a strong first period, the Flyers were outshot, 27-10, over the last 40 minutes.
"The day we start playing 60 minutes like that [first period], we're going to be a dangerous team," Giroux said. "But we're just inconsistent. It's the same story every game. We need to find a way to be consistent the whole game. Obviously, there's going to be a couple minutes they're going to play better than you, but you have to find a way to get your momentum back,."
Kyle Okposo skated out front and fired a shot that went through the legs of defenseman Nick Schultz - it may have deflected off his skate - and beat Mason near his shoulder to the short side, giving the Islanders a 2-1 lead with 14:46 left in the second period.
"Just a crap bounce," Mason said,. "I believe it hit the side of the net and found its way through."
Giroux won the faceoff and kicked the puck into the corner, but the hustling Okposo retrieved it and gave the Isles their first lead of the night.
With the Islanders (11-8-3) shorthanded late in the first period, Cal Clutterbuck went around Jake Voracek, skated in front and had his shot poked away by Shayne Gostisbehere, but Casey Cizikas picked up the loose puck and knocked it past Mason. That tied the score at 1-1 with 58 seconds left in the first.
"That can't happen. Unacceptable," Giroux said of allowing a shorthanded goal late in the period.
"I guess you could say it changed the game a little," Gostisbehere said, "but it was only one period and there were still two periods of hockey left."
Giroux's power-play goal, a one-timer from the left circle after some slick passing by Gostisbehere and Voracek, had given the Flyers a 1-0 lead 3:59 into the game. The Flyers had a man advantage because Josh Bailey was in the penalty box for goalie interference.
Giroux converted a backhand feed from Gostisbehere.
Giroux, Gostisbehere, and Voracek combined for the overtime goal in Monday's 3-2 win over Carolina. Gostisbehere was the scorer on that power play.
In that game, the Flyers ended a 167:54 scoreless streak; they had two power-play goals and a shorthanded score.
Giroux, trying to wake up his team, got into a rare fight Wednesday, battling with Nick Leddy.
"The second period we were flat, and any time you have a chance to change the momentum, you do it," Giroux said.
Wayne Simmonds later fought Matt Martin, with both players landing several punches.
That gave the Flyers 10 fights this season, the league's second-highest figure.
The Flyers started a stretch Wednesday in which they play three games in four days. They host Peter Laviolette's Nashville Predators on Friday afternoon, then play the Rangers in Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon.
Michael Del Zotto had five hits and five blocked shots. . . . After scoring on their first power play, the Flyers failed to click the next four times they had a man advantage. . . . Right winger Colin McDonald made his Flyers debut and had five hits against his former teammates.