The Islanders 7-4 loss to the Flyers Saturday was much like the entire 2010-11 season—crazy, dramatic, and ultimately, disappointing.
Despite a stunning surge to recover from an atrocious start and 2-0 deficit, the Islanders fell to the Flyers for the 21st time in 22 games in their season finale.
The Flyers completed a season sweep of the Islanders for the second time in three years, snapping a season-high five-game losing streak and capturing the Atlantic Division title in the process. Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros led the team with two goals and two assists.
Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro has given up six goals in each of the past two games at Wells Fargo Center.
"We didn't come out as hard as we should have, obviously," said John Tavares, who finished with a goal and two assists. "It was our last game of the year. There is nothing else to leave it for, no more days to make it up. It's going to be a long summer. We just have to improve in the offseason."
With the regular season over, Philly will advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs while the Islanders will be cleaning out their lockers after missing out on the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Losers in 7 of the last 8 games of the season, the Islanders finish the season in 27th place, which gives them a 10.7% chance of nabbing the No. 1 overall pick in Tuesday’s NHL Draft Lottery show.
The team has not won in Philadelphia in over four years, dating back to their 4-2 victory April 7, 2007.
"They're four lines deep and with their six defensemen, they are a dangerous team, no question," coach Jack Capuano said. "They have all the elements to be a Stanley Cup Champion. To fall behind 2-0 in a hostile environment...I thought we responded okay, but they were a little too much for us to handle down low."
After giving up two goals in the first 47 seconds of the game—Kimmo Timonen scored only 16 seconds into play-- the Islanders rallied back from a disastrous start to tie the game twice in the first period.
After Michael Grabner went five-hole on goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to cut the Flyers lead in half, rookie defenseman Travis Hamonic delivered his second game-tying goal in 24 hours.
Hamonic, who sent the Islanders and Penguins into overtime Friday night with 35 seconds in regulation, unleashed another blast from the point to knot the teams at 2 with a power-play goal at 9:31.
Danny Briere’s top-shelf backhander beat Rick DiPietro 19 seconds after Hamonic’s equalizer for a 3-2 Flyers lead but John Tavares erased it minutes later.
Poking in a puck that was skittering along the goal line, Tavares netted his 29th of the season, one goal shy of the 30-goal benchmark already achieved by teammates Grabner (34) and Matt Moulson (31).
Tavares finished the game with a goal and two assists.
Although PA Parenteau notched a milestone 20th goal less than a minute into the second with Brian Boucher replacing Bobrovsky in goal, the Flyers outscored the Islanders 2-1 in the middle frame.
After tying the game at four, Andrej Meszaros picked up an assist on the Flyers’ go-ahead goal in the second. Scott Hartnell tallied his second of the night when he squeaked a shot short-side for a 5-4 lead at 18:29.
Meszaros sealed the game with a power-play goal in the third at 9:40 and Darroll Powe added an empty-netter with one second to play.
"I think we showed a lot of character in this building to come back like that," Parenteau said. "But at the end of the day you want to win the game and we didn't."
With their loss last night the Islanders finished 26-29-10 under interim head coach Jack Capuano, who is a virtual lock for the job next season.
Before the game Capuano addressed his job status, although it is assumed to be a foregone conclusion that he returns.
“I’d love the opportunity to be back behind the bench with a team that, I feel, has a bright future.”