Late Saturday night was all right for fighting for both the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers.
But with an immediate rematch looming, both teams seem focused on two entirely different long-term outlooks.
The Islanders will look to stay hot and the Flyers will look to snap another long losing streak when the longtime division rivals conclude a home-and-home set at Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
Both teams have been off since Saturday night, when the host Islanders scored four unanswered goals in a span of 15 minutes bridging the second and third periods in a 5-2 victory at Elmont, N.Y.
The outcome of the game was long determined when the squads combined for 42 penalty minutes in the final 3:16, including 36 minutes in a brawl that began with Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov delivering what appeared to be a routine check to Flyers right winger Kevin Hayes.
The subsequent fracas included the Flyers’ Tony DeAngelo challenging the Islanders’ Oliver Wahlstrom to a fight but Wahlstrom getting the better of DeAngelo, after delivered several punches while holding the Philadelphia defenseman in a hunched-over position.
Afterward, Islanders head coach Lane Lambert said “not at all” when asked if he was perturbed by the game taking a pugnacious turn in the final minutes and said he wasn’t concerned about any spillover for Tuesday night.
“All I know is that we take each game individually, so we’re going in there to win a hockey game,” Lambert said. “And we’ll see. We’ll just go from there.”
The win closed out a 4-0 week for the Islanders, who are 13-4-0 since a 2-4-0 start. New York plays just two games this week, with the Nashville Predators slated to visit on Friday night.
“That’s a good week, nice to cap it off the right way,” said Islanders center Brock Nelson, who scored the game-winner Saturday after also collecting the game-winner in Friday’s 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. “Now try to get some rest and take advantage of a little bit of a slow week (this) week.”
The loss was the 10th straight (0-7-3) for the Flyers, who have been outscored 45-20 during their third double-digit losing streak in the last 12 months. Philadelphia dropped 10 in a row (0-8-2) from Nov. 18 through Dec. 8, 2021, and 13 straight (0-10-3) from Dec. 30, 2021 through Jan. 25, 2022.
Nelson’s goal 2:57 into the third period Saturday marked the fourth time during the current skid the Flyers have given up the game-tying or go-ahead goal in the third period.
“We’re going to keep just banging away at it, that’s all — that’s all we can do,” Flyers head coach John Tortorella said. “I thought we did a lot of good things. We just have certain situations (where) we lose ourselves for a few minutes and it hurt us tonight in the third.”
The rematch against the Islanders opens a five-game homestand for the Flyers, who are slated to face a trio of 2021-22 playoff teams — including the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning, who squared off for the Stanley Cup last spring — as well as the Metropolitan Division-leading New Jersey Devils.
“It’s not fun, what’s going on now,” Hayes said. “The only way to get out of it is us. So get back to work and hopefully these couple home games can help that.”
–Field Level Media