Van Riemsdyk leads Flyers past Islanders 5-2
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — With the season coming down to the wire, the Philadelphia Flyers know that wins over division-leading teams such as the Islanders are not easy to come by.
Well, now they’ve got two over New York in the last six days.
James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist, helping the Flyers to a 5-2 win over the Islanders on Saturday night.
Ryan Hartman, Sean Couturier, Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny also scored for Philadelphia, which had a three-goal second period. Brian Elliott made 25 saves for his 10th victory of the season. Elliott’s performance was also bolstered by the 16 blocked shots the Flyers recorded.
“I thought our guys really played well defensively,” Flyers coach Scott Gordon said. “The game that we played here last week I think we got lucky in the second period a few times, but tonight this was probably one of our better defensive games. . With the exception of the last two plays at the net at the end of the game there, we had guys that were able to stop them from getting shots off.”
The win helped Philadelphia inch closer to the final wild-card spot. They are seven points behind Pittsburgh and five behind Columbus and Montreal for one of two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Flyers are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, which includes wins over the Islanders and Penguins.
“We were really good defensively,” Jakub Voracek said about the Flyers’ effort. “We didn’t give up much. We eliminated their speed through the neutral zone.”
Scott Mayfield and Nick Leddy scored for New York, and Thomas Greiss made 10 saves but gave up all five of the Flyers’ goals in 39:56 of action. Christopher Gibson made his first appearance since Dec. 6 in relief of Greiss in the third period and stopped 10 shots.
The Islanders remained two points behind Washington for the Metropolitan Division lead. New York has struggled in its last five games, going 2-3-0 since defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1 on Feb. 28. New York’s only two wins came against the struggling Ottawa Senators. The Islanders host Columbus on Monday night.
“It’s not something we’re taking lightly,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. “When there’s a rough patch and we’re coming in here talking a little bit too much about the streak. We just have to find a way to regroup tomorrow. We have a huge (game) on Monday.
“This one is obviously awful. It stinks.”
Van Riemsdyk scored with 3.1 seconds left in the first period to break a 1-1 tie. The Flyers forward was left alone in front of the net to clean up a puck that was initially stopped by Greiss.
Philadelphia extended its lead to 3-1 at the 1:34 mark of the second period. Couturier fired a hard shot from the top of the left faceoff circle for his 28th goal of the season.
The Flyers made it 4-1 when Patrick scored at 5:35 of the second. Konecny’s goal at 17:26 put Philadelphia up 5-1.
Leddy scored to cut the Flyers’ lead to 5-2 with 3:32 remaining in the game.
Mayfield gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead at the 6:30 mark of the first period after his shot was deflected into the net by the stick of Corban Knight. The goal was Mayfield’s first since Nov. 18 against Dallas.
The Flyers evened the score on Hartman’s goal at 15:20 of the first. Ivan Provorov threw the puck at the net and Hartman was able to push the rebound by Greiss.
Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk left early after being hit up high by Voracek. Boychuk was attended to on the ice for several minutes by a team trainer before going to the dressing room.
As Boychuk was leaving the ice, he motioned at Voracek.
“He’s getting off the ice and pointing at me like it’s Wrestlemania,” Voracek said. “Give me a break. We’ll see what happens next game.”
The Islanders honored their late Hall of Fame general manager Bill Torrey before the start of the game. Members of Torrey’s family were on hand for a ceremonial puck drop and a tribute video was played in his honor.
Torrey died on May 2, 2018, at his home in South Florida at the age of 83.
He developed the Islanders into a dynasty that won four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980-83.
NOTES: Flyers G Carter Hart missed his sixth straight game. Flyers coach Scott Gordon told reporters that Hart was healthy. The Flyers goaltender missed the previous five games with a lower-body injury. ... Islanders F Cal Clutterbuck missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Clutterbuck was injured last Sunday in the Islanders’ 4-1 loss to Philadelphia. ... The Flyers made their second appearance of the season at the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday. Philadelphia has played four regular-season or preseason games against the Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum since the building was reopened in 2017, the most for any team in the NHL. ... The Islanders scratched D Thomas Hickey, D Luca Sbisa, D Dennis Seidenberg, F Andrew Ladd and F Ross Johnston. ... The Flyers scratched D Samuel Morin and D Andrew MacDonald.
Islanders: Host Columbus on Monday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Flyers: Host Ottawa on Monday night.