A three-game winning streak for the New York Islanders is salvaging what had been a disastrous November.
The Philadelphia Flyers hope their current two-game skid isn’t going to undo the progress they made over the first half of the month.
The Islanders and Flyers will meet for the second time this week on Saturday night in Elmont, N.Y.
Both teams will be completing a back-to-back set. The Islanders continued their well-timed surge Friday with a 5-3 win over the host Ottawa Senators, while the Flyers dropped a 3-1 decision to the New York Rangers.
The home game Saturday will be only the second for the Islanders since Nov. 11, when fans chanted “Fire Lane Lambert” as the New York head coach presided over a fourth straight defeat.
The winless streak reached seven games (0-4-3) when the Islanders went 0-2-1 to open a four-game West Coast swing. New York, however, ended the trip with a 5-4 shootout win over the Calgary Flames on Nov. 18 before notching a 3-2 win over the visiting Flyers on Wednesday night.
The five goals the Islanders scored Friday were they most they’ve collected in regulation this season, while the three-game winning streak is their longest since a three-game run from March 15-18.
“When we weren’t winning, I said we were playing good,” Lambert said. “We felt as though the wins would start coming if we continued to play well, The challenge was not to get discouraged, and I thought our guys did a great job of that and they played hard every game. And I thought tonight was no exception.”
The Islanders won Friday despite playing most of the game without defensemen Sebastian Aho and Adam Pelech, each of whom exited with injuries within the first four minutes of the first period. Lambert didn’t offer an update on either player Friday night.
The Flyers, who endured a 10-game losing streak (0-7-3) last November, got off to a 5-7-1 start this season before winning five straight games in which they outscored the opposition 22-11. The winning streak was the longest for Philadelphia since a nine-game run from Feb. 18 through March 7, 2020.
But the Flyers haven’t led in either of their last two games despite outshooting the Islanders and Rangers by a combined 73-44. Both New York teams raced to 2-0 leads against Philadelphia, which gave up goals by Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider within the first 1:53 Saturday.
“We probably out-chance them, but their chances were glorious chances,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said Friday afternoon. “That’s basically where our tracking was nowhere to be found.”
The Flyers’ power play struggles continued Friday, when they were 0-for-6 on the man advantage. They are just 7-for-68 (10.3 percent) on the power play this year, the fourth-worst mark in the NHL.
“They’re a pretty good penalty kill,” Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim said. “We had a few looks. I think we have to be more straightforward generating shots at the net. Just start outworking penalty kills, like we were before.”
–Field Level Media