4-1 loss to Islanders puts Flyers further out of playoff picture

Image courtesy of Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers lost one of the biggest games in their season tonight at the Nassau Coliseum with a 4-1 defeat to the New York Islanders. Matt Moulson and John Tavares both had a goal and an assist in the win for the Isles, while Brad Boyes and Colin McDonald both recorded two-assist nights. Evgeni Nabokov registered the victory with 26 saves on 27 shots against.

Steve Mason was in net tonight for the Flyers and played better than his 28 saves on 31 shots would imply. With a few crucial saves in the second and third periods, Mason’s only flaw was the first goal he allowed.

As for Philly’s goal, Jakub Voracek had the visitors’ lone tally in the first period to open the scoring.

The Flyers came out strong to start the game, strong to start the second period, and played good through the majority of the third period, but it wasn’t enough to find a pair of points that could play a huge role in whether or not they make the postseason.

Nabokov played well, but he wasn’t called upon to make any miraculous saves. He was consistent throughout, but Philadelphia didn’t threaten the goaltender or his defense enough to come away with the win.

“It’s frustrating,” Scott Hartnell said after the loss. “You can’t just expect to score one goal and win a game. You got to continue to push it. Mason played great for us. He was really solid back there.”

“We have to win a lot of games in a row now,” Claude Giroux said following the defeat. “We need to come together as a team and we know we can do it. It’s about putting the work in, the hours, and actually doing it right.”

The Orange and Black jumped out to the game’s first lead, but the Islanders responded with a goal of their own in the final five minutes of the opening stanza.

After an eventless first few minutes of the contest, Giroux hit Voracek with a beautiful stretch pass to set up the former Columbus Blue Jacket for a breakaway goal.

From the dot to Mason’s left, Giroux launched a pass to Voracek at the Islanders’ blue line to set him up for a breakaway. Voracek slid a backhand attempt through Nabokov’s five-hole to force the netminder to close his legs and glide over the goal line. There was some discussion as to whether or not the puck crossed the line, but it was obvious the disc went into the net after Andrew MacDonald slammed into his goaltender to push him into the back of the cage.

Voracek made it 1-0 Philly 6:28 into the contest, but Moulson leveled the score with 4:24 remaining in the first stanza.

Boyes carried the biscuit into the Flyers’ zone and worked over Kent Huskins before he dished it to Moulson, who was at the bottom of the circle to Mason’s right. The forward’s shot beat Mason’s glove low. The soft tally was Moulson’s 13th of the season.

After the teams exited the first period in a 1-1 tie, Matt Martin tried to shake things up for the Islanders in the middle frame.

Six minutes into the second period, Martin took a run at Brayden Schenn while Philly’s forward was near Mason’s crease. Thanks to the younger Schenn avoiding the check, New York’s pest decided to take a run at Mason, as he plowed over the Flyers’ new netminder.

The younger Schenn stood up for Mason by dropping the gloves with Martin. Schenn didn’t hold up too well in the bout, but the fact he took on the experienced fighter seemed to give the Orange and Black some energy.

Unfortunately for the visitors, they couldn’t put a shot past Nabokov in their dominance of the first half of the middle stanza and the Isles grabbed the lead late in the frame.

Philly avoided the immense pressure from Tavares and his linemates before the puck was iced and Peter Laviolette used his timeout in the final five minutes of the period. The tired visitors managed to get the puck out of their own end, but a turnover in the offensive zone led to Michael Grabner’s go-ahead goal with 2:18 left in the period.

As the Islanders transitioned into the Flyers’ zone, it looked like a broken play until McDonald set up Grabner in the slot for an attempt that Mason didn’t have a chance on. Grabner’s 13th of 2013 put the Flyers in a difficult situation, as they headed into the third period down by one goal.

Despite their intensity and effort in the final period, the Orange and Black failed to storm back, as an unlucky bounce put the game away for the Islanders with 1:37 left in regulation.

After Tavares took a shot on net, Mason kicked out what looked to be an innocent rebound. However, due to the fact the goaltender fell to the ice and Erik Gustafsson was diving across the crease to prevent Moulson from putting home a rebound, the blue liner accidentally pushed the puck over the goal line.

Casey Cizikas finalized the game with an empty-net goal with 1:09 left in the contest.

Philly will return to the ice on Thursday, as they host the Ottawa Senators at the Wells Fargo Center.

Notes: Philly was 0-for-2 on the power play tonight and are 0-for-11 on the man advantage in their last four games…The Flyers dropped to 2-13-0 in games where they trail after two periods…Philly dropped to 12-6-2 in games this season in games where they scored first…Giroux had a team-high five hits, four of which came in the first period…Huskins had a game-high three blocked shots…Not a single Flyer finished the game with a plus rating. Ruslan Fedotenko, Adam Hall, Sean Couturier, and Oliver Lauridsen were the only Flyers to finish the game with an even rating…The Flyers dropped to 1-1-1 against the Islanders this season and to 4-9-2 against the rest of the Atlantic Division (PIT 1-2-1, NYI 1-1-1, NYR 1-3-0, NJD 1-3-0)…Philly dropped to 17-19-3 on the season. They were 24-11-4 after 39 games last season.