Islanders beat Flyers on Leddy’s OT goal
PHILADELPHIA — If the New York Islanders expect to return to the Stanley Cup playoffs, they will need to put some distance between themselves and a handful of other teams in the Metropolitan Division.
The Islanders did just that on Friday, completing a home-and-home sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers with a second straight overtime win.
“It’s huge,” Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy said after scoring 2:44 into overtime to give the Islanders a come-from-behind 5-4 win at the Wells Fargo Center. “It’s a couple extra points that they don’t get. Every game is so tight in the Metro division and we look at all the teams and they’re all so close, so every point is huge.”
Forwards Mathew Barzal, Cal Clutterbuck, Jordan Eberle and Andrew Ladd scored goals in regulation for the Islanders, who trailed 4-2 entering the third period. The Islanders won for the fifth time in six games. They are now six points ahead of the Flyers in the Metropolitan Division standings.
Goaltender Thomas Greiss turned aside 26 shots to earn the win.
Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Shayne Gostisbehere and Sean Couturier all scored in the second period for the Flyers, who have lost seven games in a row (0-3-4), their longest skid since dropping 10 straight in 2007-08. That team went to the Eastern Conference finals, but optimism is in short supply in South Philadelphia, especially with a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins looming on Monday.
“Right now it’s a tough time,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “There’s still growth going on and that doesn’t always come easy. We’ve got to be up to that challenge mentally and physically, to come back and do a little bit better and stick together hard as a group.”
Brian Elliott made 32 saves in the loss for Philadelphia, which has surrendered two-goal leads in three of its last five games.
“It starts from the net out,” Elliott said. “I’ve got to make a couple of saves there when we get up a couple of goals. We need to close games out. I think we’ve seen it during this stretch, that we have kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit.”
Trailing 4-2 after two periods, the Islanders drew within one goal when Eberle scored his second power-play goal of the season at the 4:12 mark.
It was the sixth power-play goal scored by the Islanders in five games and the ninth power-play goal allowed by the Flyers in five games.
Ladd tied the score with 7:49 remaining in regulation when he scored on a pass from Eberle from about 5 feet in front of the crease.
“Anytime you’re down, you don’t have much to lose, so you’re on your toes, you’re getting pucks deep, getting on the forecheck, getting pucks to the net,” Ladd said. “I think we did a lot of good things to get ourselves back in the game. We got some big saves from Greisser and just a big goal from Leddy in OT.”
The Isles got on the board first when Barzal scored his sixth goal with 14.1 seconds remaining in the opening period. He entered the game ranked second among NHL rookies with 20 points.
The Flyers erupted for four goals in the second period. Giroux knotted the score with a one-timer from the high slot at the 3:49 mark, and Simmonds gave the Flyers a 2-1 advantage when he put a Gostisbehere rebound past Greiss for his first goal in 15 games.
Clutterbuck’s deflection goal, his fourth of the season, tied the score at 2-2, but back-to-back goals by Gostisbehere and Couturier gave the Flyers a two-goal cushion entering the third period. Gostisbehere’s goal, his second of the season, snapped a 13-game drought.
“I didn’t even say a word between the second and third periods and generally that’s when you’re mad,” Islanders coach Doug Weight said after the comeback. “At the end of the second, I said we’re going to win the game. They came out and they did it, so kudos on them.”
NOTES: Flyers LW Claude Giroux netted his 599th and 600th NHL points, becoming the 10th player in Flyers history to reach that milestone. ... Flyers rookie LW Danick Martel played his second NHL game on a second line with rookie C Nolan Patrick and RW Wayne Simmonds, pushing LW Jordan Weal (2 goals, 4 assists in 20 games) down to a fourth line. ... Islanders LW Jason Chimera played in his 210th consecutive NHL game, the longest current streak on the club. ... The Islanders play their third game in four nights Saturday in Ottawa when they face the Senators for the first time this season, then return home for games against the Canucks and Senators. ... The Flyers are back in action Monday night when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for their first game of the season against their division rivals, followed by home games against the Sharks and Bruins.