By Jeff Capellini, WFAN.com
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Islanders had a bit of a morose look on their faces as they left the ice Monday. If you had seen the previous 60 minutes of hockey you would have had a pretty good understanding of why.
There’s something to be said for intensity to start a period, but the Islanders had nothing from the second they stepped on the ice and it ultimately manifested itself in an embarrassing 7-0 defeat to the visiting Flyers, one that pretty much wiped out the goodwill this team had generated with its fans over the previous few days.
The Islanders came into the Presidents Day matinee off victories over their two biggest rivals, efforts they absolutely had to have following a five-game losing streak that featured one frustration after another. So it seemed like they had something going.
It only seemed that way.
The Philadelphia line of Claude Giroux, Matt Read and Jakub Voracek took over seconds after the opening puck was dropped and pretty much did whatever it wanted from then on.
The Islanders were listless from the start and generated very little at both ends of the ice, something that clearly irked star John Tavares after the game.
“Obviously we’re not going to win every night, but to play like that is unacceptable. We have to understand the consistency needed to play at a high level every night,” said Tavares, who came into the game riding a five-game goal-scoring streak, but finished Monday minus-3.
The Flyers, who had lost three of their first four on their current six-game road trip, struck before many fans were even in their seats as Giroux gathered in a loose puck that had ricocheted off of the skate of Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald and beat Evgeni Nabokov glove-side high just 26 seconds into the game.
But Nabokov kept the Islanders in the game following the fast goal, making several tremendous saves.
The Islanders then had a golden opportunity handed them with 6:10 left in the first, as they were awarded a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes after Kimmo Timonen was hit with an interference penalty and Wayne Simmonds took an unsportsmanlike penalty. However, the NHL’s No. 2-ranked power play unit looked tentative moving the puck, nearly gave up a breakaway and got called for icing before coming away with nothing. The Islanders finished the game 0-for-5 with the man advantage, generating just one shot on goal.
“On that 5-on-3 we have to find a way to score,” defenseman Mark Streit said.
Islanders head coach Jack Capuano was equally miffed, telling reporters later, “We have to generate something there. We were too perimeter.”
Capuano said the Islanders cannot expect to score goals, either on the power play or at even strength, if they don’t start doing the dirty work in front of the net.
“I told the guys after the game that we have to get into the hard area to score goals,” he said.
The Islanders never recovered from that power play outage. Giroux, Read and Voracek went on to finish with a combined three goals and seven assists, and Danny Briere added two goals and an assist in the rout.
Read made it 2-0 just 15 seconds into the second period, poking home a loose puck following a mad scramble in front of Nabokov.
With Kyle Okposo off for cross checking at 6:22, the Islanders appeared to get the break they were looking for when Casey Cizikas skated in on a 2-on-1 with Colin McDonald, but Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov made a pad stop, keying a rush the other way which ended with defenseman Brayden Schenn beating Nabokov with a wrister in the slot, and just like that it was 3-0.
Giroux then notched his second of the game, grabbing a loose puck to Nabokov’s right and stuffing it home. At that point — 5:15 remaining in the second — the Islanders were pretty much done.
The onslaught continued early in the third as tough guy Zac Rinaldo banged home his first of the season, taking a centering pass from Harry Zolnierczyk, who swept in on the left side and drew Nabokov from the crease.
Briere later added a tap-in power-play goal and an even-strength marker to complete the scoring.
Nabokov finished with 18 saves for the Islanders, who are likely to turn Rick DiPietro on Tuesday in Ottawa, Capuano said. The Flyers’ Bryzgalov stopped 19 shots in recording his first shutout of the season.
The Islanders played with just five defensemen after Brian Strait slid awkwardly into the boards near the Flyers’ bench early in the second period. Capuano said after the game Strait had suffered an ankle injury and is likely going to be out, “a while.” The Islanders will likely dress rookie Thomas Hickey in Ottawa.
With the win, the Flyers leaped over the Islanders into fourth place in the Atlantic Division.
“The bottom line is they were the better, more physical team. We weren’t prepared and that is unacceptable. They were first on pucks, won the battles. If we want to win games we should take a page out of their book,” Islanders forward Matt Martin said.
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