The Flyers returned home on Saturday 1/30 to face the Islanders after sweeping the Devils on the road in their two previous games. The team gained a much needed defensive boost with Phil Myers returning to the lineup. However, Flyers fans were left scratching their heads when it was rumored that Travis Konecny would be a healthy scratch for the game, which held to be true. Alain Vingeault made it very clear he was sending a message to his team that his strategies must be implemented to the T, and when Konecny was seen not hustling and not covering for a pinching Shayne Gostisbehere in their previous game, Vingeault immediately took action.
In their first game against New York, the Flyers came out buzzing and ultimately played their best period of hockey all season. Jake Voracek opened up the scoring early in the first by finishing a tic-tac-toe passing play from Scott Laughton and Claude Giroux. With that assist, Captain Claude Giroux notched his 9th point in as many games played this season. Kevin Hayes tapped in the second goal of the period and the Flyers left the ice up 2-0.
The second period began and the Flyers did a quick 180. The Islanders came out strong and continued to attack the Flyers scoring their first goal a little over seven minutes into the period. The Islanders did not let off the gas pedal, scoring the game tying goal with eight minutes left in the period.
The Islanders continued to push the pace of play throughout the third period where Carter Hart stood on his head. Hart allowed no goals in the third forcing the teams to overtime. Scott Laughton had two scoring opportunities in the overtime and ended up cashing in on his second chance winning the game and stealing 2 points for the Flyers. Hart ended the night stopping 26/28 shots good for .928 save percentage and his 4th win on the season (4-2-1 overall).
Sunday night, the Flyers and Islanders took the ice for the second of their back-to-back games. In Sunday’s match up, AV chose to start goaltender Brian Elliot and re-inserted Travis Konecny into the lineup in hopes of sweeping the Islanders in their first two game series of the season.
The Flyers were in trouble early as Ivan Provorov was called for a cross checking penalty just 2:38 into the period. The Flyers managed to kill of the Islanders power-play, but the penalties kept coming on both sides. The refs went from letting these two teams play in Saturday’s game to calling the smallest infractions. Finally as the period was creeping down to its last minutes, Joel Farabee lit the lamp scoring his first of the evening, with the assist from James Van Riemsdyk. The Flyers skated into the intermission with the 1-0 lead.
Penalties continued to be called frequently in the second period, heavily helping the Islanders. The Islanders scored the first goal of the second period on the power play, but the Flyers were quick to answer. Farabee notched his second of the night just under two minutes after the Islanders tied that game. The Islanders were given two more power plays in the second period which they were unable to capitalize on. Then Farabee struck for his third of the night earning a hat trick and giving the Flyers the 3-1 lead. Farabee is the second youngest Flyer to record a hat trick, behind only HHOFer Eric Lindros.
Entering the third period the Flyers held onto a 3-1 lead, but came out sluggish and paid dearly for it. The Islanders overcame the two goal deficit as Josh Bailey and Matthew Barzal both netted goals to tie the game. Yet, the Flyers were able to hold on to go to overtime for the second straight night. Both the Flyers and Islanders had decent chances in overtime, but when the Flyers were given a late power play in overtime they were able to take advantage. While on the PP, Kevin Hayes fired a shot on net and Claude Giroux was able to settle the rebound. Giroux pulled back looking to shoot and passed back to Hayes for a quick release one-timer to steal the game in OT. Giroux’s assist was his 10th point in 10 games to start the season. James van Riemsdyk was later credited with an assist on Hayes overtime winner, giving him four assists on the night and good for 13 points in his first 10 games of the season. With this win the Flyers officially started the season off 7-2-1 in their first 10 games, good for 15 total points.
Their next opponent is the Boston Bruins , who they will play on Wednesday night and Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The Bruins faced the Washington Capitals in their most recent two game series and ended up splitting victories. The Flyers will most likely be going back to Carter Hart for the game on Wednesday. It'll be Hart's first game against the Bruins since the 6-1 defeat he suffered where he broke his stick in frustration. Boston will also have their star right winger David Pastrnak back in the lineup, who the Flyers did not have to face in their first go-around.
Our prediction for the first game of the mini-series is is a 4-3 overtime victory for the orange and black.