The Flyers came out swinging, both literally and figuratively, against the New York Islanders on Thursday night and it earned them a big win.
After the way the Philadelphia Flyers were completely routed by the Pittsburgh Penguins to start 2018, no one really knew how the team would respond when they faced the New York Islanders just a couple days later.
Would fans get the listless Flyers club that lacked any kind of urgency or energy on Tuesday? Or would they get the team that can play with the best of them like the one that beat the NHL-best Tampa Bay Lightning the pervious Friday?
Turns out the Flyers can rebound with the best of them.
Philadelphia beat the Islanders 6-4 in one of the most entertaining games they have played all season. They came out determined to start off strong and kept Islanders’ goalie Thomas Greiss very busy while it took New York almost five minutes before they even got a shot on goal.
Travis Konecny, Michael Raffl, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier all scored goals while Ivan Provorov had two hit the back of the next, both on the power play. Brian Elliott started his 15th consecutive game in goal and went 27 for 31.
The Flyers exploded in the second period, when they scored three times in just under five minutes. But of course, this being the Flyers, they almost let the Islanders back into the game in the third, where New York outshot the Orange and Black 17-7.
Nevertheless, the Flyers held on for the victory which improved them to 17-15 on the season and got them just bit closer to a Wild Card berth.
What helped make the game so much fun was that the Flyers, maybe because of the way they lost to Pittsburgh, came out looking for a fight. And that is exactly what New York got.
Konecny, Couturier and Scott Laughton all decided to take out some of their pent up frustrations on the Islanders, with Konecny especially seeming to have some issues he needed to work out.
Travis Konecny makes minced meat out of Shane Price in the early going in Philly pic.twitter.com/lOu8rXD8DB
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) January 5, 2018
The other story of the night was that the Flyers had called up Tyrell Goulbourne from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday but due to the snow he was unable to make it to Philadelphia in time for the game. It is now expected that Goulbourne will make his pro debut against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
With the Flyers entering the stretch of the season where every game and every point matters, they need to make sure they keep up the kind of intensity they showed against New York. They simply cannot play down to inferior teams like they did to the Penguins and expect to make the playoffs.
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Otherwise it will be another very long offseason and head coach Dave Hakstol may be looking for a new job.
The Flyers next take the ice against the Blues in a Saturday afternoon game in South Philly.