The New York Islanders failed to follow up their win over the Penguins and fell flat in a 5-2 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. Vincent Lecavalier scored a hat trick in a contest that featured several team defensive breakdowns for the Islanders. The Flyers had a lot of room to operate in the Islanders zone too often during the game and were able to enter the attack zone with speed.
“This is where you have to learn from your mistakes,” Isles coach Jack Capuano said. “We’re a .500 hockey club. We can’t be satisfied where we are, our standards are higher. To me it’s just disappointing that we didn’t play with the urgency…We were lackadaisical. One or two seconds can cost you a goal and that’s exactly what happened tonight.”
The Flyers scored on their first two shots on goal of the game and never really looked back. Lecavalier’s first tally came on a one-timer from the right circle that deflected in off the stick of defenseman Travis Hamonic just 4:30 into the game.
Jakub Voracek made it 2-0 exactly one minute later as he skated untouched down the right wing. Matt Donovan pinched on the play and Josh Bailey failed to slow down his man and the result was another Flyers goal.
“I think we just had a couple of miscommunications out there,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald admitted. “That’s all it takes in this league for goals to go in. That’s unfortunate but I think we have to play a much better game than we did tonight.”
Eric Boulton tried to rally the Islanders when he dropped the gloves with Philadelphia’s Jay Grosshill. The plan worked over the short run and Kyle Okposo got the Isles on the board with a hard, low shot from the left point that deflected off someone in front and beat Steve Mason to pull the Isles within 2-1. John Tavares assisted on the goal which extended his point scoring streak to 10 games.
The Flyers took a 3-1 lead with just 1:47 left in the first period on Lecavalier’s second goal of the night. The former Lightning star put home his own rebound on a play which saw the Isles defense give him too much room to operate.
The Islanders got the only goal of the second period while shorthanded. Frans Nielsen caused a turnover which led to a 2-on-1 break with Peter Regin. Regin’s pass back to Nielsen was behind him but the Danish center managed to get off a backhand shot that pulled the Isles back to within a goal at 3-2 and extended his goal-scoring streak to four games.
The Islanders failed to improve their defensive play in the third period and Lecavalier completed the hat trick at 8:53 of the final stanza to give the Flyers a 4-2 lead. It was the third shot for Lecavalier during that rush and he scored the goal while on his knees. The Flyers fans in attendance threw some hats onto the ice to celebrate Lecavalier’s seventh career hat trick and his first since 2000.
An empty net goal by Matt Read with 1:32 left clinched the win and made the final 5-2.
“We just have to find a certain level of consistency and play that way every night and that’s how we’re going to be successful,” said MacDonald. “We haven’t found that for a full 60 minutes yet but it’s something we’re going to strive towards and work for.”
The Islanders return to action Tuesday when they host the New York Rangers.
Attendance was 13,620.
The Flyers scored more than two goals in a game for the first time all season.
Josh Bailey was the Isles top faceoff man, winning nine-of-15.
Michael Grabner returned to the Islanders lineup after completing his two-game suspension for a hit on Nathan Gerbe.
The Associated Press reported that former Isles goalie Rick DePietro signed a tryout contract with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL.