NEW YORK – When a team like the Flyers sits in last place, almost isn’t good enough.
It happened again on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, when the Flyers came from behind to tie the Islanders, only to lose the game just 32 seconds into overtime.
The defeat extended the Flyers’ winless streak to six (0-3-3) games and kept them firmly entrenched in the Metro Division basement.
Once again, too many penalties combined with a sub-par penalty kill (28th in the NHL) proved the Flyers’ ultimate undoing.
They’ve handed out 20 power plays over the past four games and opponents have capitalized on eight of them, including two by the Islanders.
The Flyers took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 on first goals of the season by Taylor Leier and Michael Raffl.
But the Islanders came back on a Johnny Boychuk goal (while the Flyers were two men down) and went ahead on a goal by Joshua Ho-Sang.
Jake Voracek tied it up at 13:54 of the middle period on a power-play goal but in overtime, Josh Bailey fired a shot past Flyers goalie Brian Elliott for the winner.
“(It’s) very disappointing,’’ Wayne Simmonds said. “To push the game to overtime. . .you know, we had the lead two times in the game. Just untimely mistakes. And our PK has got to be better.’’
Boychuk’s goal came after Ivan Provorov took a hooking penalty and Sam Morin, just called up from Lehigh Valley and making his season debut, flipped a puck over the glass.
“The penalty kill has to be better,’’ Simmonds said. “I can’t pinpoint one thing. It has to be better. And if you take a ton of penalties, teams in this league are good enough – they’re going to score.
“The skill in this league is through the roof. Especially when they’re up a man. I think I said this last game, the best penalty kill is to not be in the box at all.’’
Elliott has played well through this stretch but he can only do so much.
The Flyers blocked 20 shots in front of the goalie, so the commitment is there.
“You saw (Robert) Hagg take one right in the side,’’ Elliott commented. “A point-blank slap shot. Guys are paying the price so eventually it’s got to turn for us when you do things like that. You’re doing the right things at the right time.’’
Coach Dave Hakstol knows the Flyers are close to getting back on the winning track. They get another chance in a Black Friday contest at 4 p.m. against the Islanders again.
It starts with getting the penalty kill turned around. A percentage of 76 percent just isn’t good enough.
“I thought we were a little tight,’’ Hakstol said. “That’s we changed the pairings and the personnel for the last two periods. That seemed to loosen them up and get them going again.’’
But, if not for an error in the overtime, things might have been different. Now, the Flyers are 1-5 in overtime and 0-2 in the shootout. Those are points missed that could be costly later in the year.
“We made a mistake in overtime but I thought we played a hell of a road game in a back-to-back,’’ said Hakstol, whose team lost to Vancouver, 5-2, on Tuesday. “Our third period was real good. It stinks to work real hard to earn that point and then we gave it away a little too easy. That’s what hurts.’’
Martel stands out in debut
Danick Martel, who has been lighting it up for the Phantoms, was called up from Allentown earlier in the day and made his NHL debut. His family managed to make it in time for the game.
Martel, who has 14 goals and 19 points in 17 games for the Phantoms, created a breakaway (stopped by goalie Thomas Greiss) and also made a couple nifty defensive plays. Plus he blocked a team-high four shots.
“He has speed, good instincts on the offensive side,’’ Hakstol said. “Getting out of the zone and creating a little bit of pressure on the opposing D in transition.’’
And aside from taking a couple penalties, Morin did OK too.
“I thought he (Morin) played a pretty solid game for his first time out this year,’’ Hakstol said.