PHILADELPHIA - The Islanders acknowledged the brand of hockey they expected against the Flyers Saturday with their decision to call up enforcer Trevor Gillies, an option seldom exercised this season.
The game delivered in that respect. It was a physical, chippy contest, but though the Islanders' effort and battle level was there, the results were not.
The 2-1 loss to the Flyers at Wachovia Center was the Islanders' fourth straight defeat. It also was their 14th loss in a row against Philadelphia, which is the NHL's longest active streak against a single opponent and ties the NHL record held by numerous teams. The Islanders have not beaten Philadelphia since Feb. 12, 2008.
"When it comes down to being one of the best eight teams, your production has got to be there more than it isn't," Doug Weight said. "We're doing some good things, but we have to get results. This is the farming time of year when you need the crops, you need the results."
The Islanders successfully killed off five of six penalties but suffered a power outage with the man-advantage, going 0-for-4. "I think the difference in a game like this is being able to score on the power play," coach Scott Gordon said.
The Islanders fell behind by two goals in the first period, marking the third straight game in which they have started the second period with a deficit of at least two goals.
A wraparound by Danny Briere gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 8:22 and Scott Hartnell scored a power-play goal at 17:12. Hartnell made a crisp feed from the goal line to Mike Richards in the high slot, then positioned himself to redirect Richards' drive.
The claws came out in the second period as the two teams clashed and tensions erupted.
A scrum ensued after Philadelphia scored what appeared to be its second power-play goal at 12:38. Hartnell bumped into Islanders goaltender Dwayne Roloson (30 saves), allowing defenseman Kimmo Timonen's long shot to get through.
An irate Roloson argued with referee Kerry Fraser as the two sides sparred along the end boards, and the goalie ultimately saw his case affirmed.
The goal was waved off after a video review and Hartnell went to the penalty box for goaltender interference, although not before sharing a few choice words with the Islanders' bench. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette was irate about the disallowed goal and slammed the glass behind him.
Seconds after the Flyers' power play expired, Josh Bailey tallied to cut the Islanders' deficit to 2-1. He tapped in Kyle Okposo's rebound at 14:44 and received a jab to the face from Hartnell afterward.
The rough stuff continued in the third period. The Flyers' Dan Carcillo crashed into Roloson and knocked him over, drawing an interference call at 3:40 and inciting a skirmish involving Bailey, Dustin Kohn, defenseman Freddy Meyer and even some pawing from John Tavares.
"That's obviously the style they play and have since they had Bobby Clarke in the '70s," said Meyer, a former Flyer. "It was a gritty hockey game."
Carcillo's penalty gave the Islanders their fourth power-play opportunity, but once again they couldn't convert.
Although pleased with his team's effort, Gordon cited the need to improve execution.
"It's not easy around their net. You have to fight and claw for everything," he said, "but a power-play goal or two would've made the difference."