PHILADELPHIA – Well, at least they only gave up one goal in regulation time, which was a lot better than the nearly five per game allowed in the month of March.
Still, the Flyers had to be frustrated by their 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
They took a 1-0 lead into the third period and had limited New York to just 10 shots through the first 40 minutes.
But then that old, recent mistake bugaboo returned.
First, Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott failed to cover a rebound/loose puck and New York’s Oliver Wahlstrom promptly poked it into the net at 4:06 of the third period.
Then in overtime, Joel Farabee’s intended pass to Shayne Gostisbehere went awry. The Isles’ Anthony Beauvillier took possession, skated around a chasing Farabee, went behind the net and beat Elliott on a wraparound with 1:19 left in overtime.
So the Flyers finished their three-game set with the Islanders going 1-1-1. The Flyers are now 3-1-1 for the season against New York.
On the minus side, they’ve been outscored 8-1 by the Islanders in the third periods of those matches.
Given the Flyers’ position in the standings, two points obviously would have been better than one.
However, the Flyers had to be encouraged by how they limited the high-scoring Islanders’ chances.
They held New York to just 15 shots in regulation time while delivering 37 of their own.
“It’s not easy,’’ said Sean Couturier, who returned to action after missing one game with an aggravated hip injury. “We have to stick together, keep battling. It’s frustrating. In the games where we’re playing good we kind of find a way to lose.
“Like tonight: It’s kind of a good game to build off of. It’s a tough result but we have to bring that same kind of game tomorrow (vs. the New Jersey Devils) and just capitalize on our chances, start getting the results that we need.’’
The Flyers also cut down on their giveaways from their previous 6-1 loss to the Islanders on Saturday night in New York when they handed the puck over a whopping 20 times. This time they nearly cut that number in half (11).
Claude Giroux also tried to put a positive spin on the low-scoring affair.
“I think overall we played pretty solid,’’ Giroux said. “When they tied it up I felt like we kept playing our game. Overall it was a good game for our team but at this time of year the way things are shaping, results are all that matter. Saying that, there are a lot of positives to take from tonight.’’
The Flyers’ only goal came at 12:03 of the second period when Giroux’s entry clicked off Oskar Lindblom’s skate and past goaltender Ilya Sorokin.
>Elliott sees progress
Elliott believes the Flyers took some small steps in this game and hopes that trend can continue.
“When everybody is doing their job, either taking away shooting lanes or moving guys out in front so I can see the puck, it’s definitely a positive,’’ he said. “It’s a really good game from a lot of aspects from our team. We don’t like the result but it’s a good building block I think. I think it shows how we need to play on a nightly basis.’’
>Couturier feels OK
Until the results of a Sunday MRI on his hip came in, Couturier wasn’t sure he was going to play in this game. But the test came back negative and he gave it a go.
“I felt all right. . .a little off with the puck,’’ Couturier said. “But I should be all right. It’s just a weird sensation I had. I didn’t have any power. Got some treatment the last few days. I was feeling good enough to go. Just have to find that strength again, that power that makes me use my body well. It’s just a matter of getting that timing again.’’
After giving up 18 goals the previous three games, the Flyers at least cut down on goals against.
Coach Alain Vigneault sounded OK with the effort.
“I mean we came to play tonight,’’ Vigneault said. “We were responsible, we had some good opportunities. It’s disappointing. I thought tonight we battled hard, we just didn’t get the winning one.’’
Vigneault expects a complete effort when his team hits the ice against the Devils on Tuesday night.
“They’re a good skilled team,’’ Vigneault said. “We’re going to control what we can control (diet, rest, preparation).’’
>Strong on faceoffs
Couturier was 12-for-13 (92.3 pct) on faceoffs. It is the second-best faceoff performance of his career in games where he’s taken more than one draw, only ranking behind a perfect 13-for-13 faceoff night that he had on Dec. 1, 2018 at Pittsburgh. . .Justin Braun led the Flyers with five shots on goal, which ties his high with the Flyers done twice previously. His career high in a game is six, done twice with San Jose. It’s the eighth time Braun has had five or more shots on goal in 696 career games.