Islanders win 4-3 in shootout, hand Flyers 9th straight loss
Philadelphia — The Flyers stretched a shootout to nine rounds — only to see their losing streak reach nine games.
The only consolation? Few fans stuck around to the end to watch Philadelphia extend its misery.
Oliver Wahlstrom scored in the ninth round of the tiebreaker to lift the New York Islanders to a 4-3 victory Tuesday night that kept the Flyers winless in January.
"We're just finding ways to lose hockey games," captain Claude Giroux said.
The Flyers — who are 5-14-6 over their last 25 games — shouldn't be surprised they lost a shootout: they are 0 for 16 on attempts this season. They haven't won since Dec. 29 in Seattle.
Just like the Flyers' skid, the shootout went on and on until Wahlstrom finally got one past Carter Hart to help the Islanders beat the Flyers for the second straight night. New York was playing its first road game since Dec. 14 after topping Philadelphia 4-1 at home Monday.
Casey Cizikas hadn't scored a goal since Nov. 4 until he got one against the Flyers on Monday, and then he tied this one with 4:28 left in regulation.
Giroux snapped a tie with his 12th goal early in the third period. Giroux, the team's lone All-Star representative, has played all 979 career games with the Flyers and was part of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final team. But in the final year of his contract, and with the Flyers well out of the playoff race, he could be playing his final games in Philadelphia before the March 21 trade deadline. There's still value in the 34-year-old Giroux, and the two sides just may want to work out a deal that positions him to finally raise the Cup.
The game was scheduled for Nov. 30 but postponed because of COVID-19 issues and moved to Tuesday night, bumping a scheduled Flyers game against Detroit to a later date.
The Islanders have been hit as hard as any team with game postponements and COVID-19 absences, forcing coach Barry Trotz to hope his club can find some success when its resumes a normal schedule.
"It's been a real difficult year for us. We feel like we've been part of the league and then we're not," he said. "It felt like we're an independent college team and we're randomly playing."
Whether it was the new date or simply a matchup of the two worst teams in the Metropolitan Division, the Wells Fargo Center had a crowd more befitting a preseason game. Once one of the toughest tickets in the NHL — and with some of the most raucous fans around to create a home-ice edge for the Flyers — fan apathy has settled in and there were scores of empty rows and light sections for this one.
Gritty can't even pack 'em in these days.
The Flyers lost 10 straight games from Nov. 18 to Dec. 8 and can add a second 10-game skid with a loss Thursday. They last had two losing streaks of at least eight games in 2006-07 when they finished 24-48-12 for the worst record in the NHL.
"It's hard to sit here when you're in a losing streak like this and feel good about progress, but we have no other choice but to keep getting better," Flyers interim coach Mike Yeo said.
Robin Salo, a second-round pick in the 2017 draft, scored his first NHL goal for the Islanders on a shot from the circle 2:08 into the game for a 1-0 lead. The Flyers heard the horn on a potential tying goal, only for a replay review to determine them offside and wave it off. James van Riemsdyk jammed in a power-play goal late in the period to make it 1-all.
Josh Bailey made it 2-1 in the second when he poked one in for New York.
Travis Konecny hadn't scored in 20 straight games until he got a goal against the Islanders on Monday. He went back-to-back when Semyon Varlamov failed to hold onto a shot off his pads and Konecny knocked in the tying goal.
Varlamov made 31 saves and stopped nine shots in the shootout.
"A couple of times I thought I got lucky. They missed the net," he said. "But I had a pretty good plan for the shootout. Everything worked out well."
Flyers F Kevin Hayes could miss up to a month following a procedure Tuesday to drain fluid from his adductor region. Hayes had just three goals and nine points in 20 games this season.
Islanders: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Flyers: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
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