One night before Halloween and Islanders fans witnessed enough ghastly scenes in the team's fourth straight loss to last them the whole weekend.
The Islanders' failure to snap a three-game skid with an ugly 6-1 loss to the Flyers, to start. There was also the nasty blow Danny Briere delivered to Frans Nielsen's head off a draw in the third period that incited a massive brawl, featuring Rick DiPietro tangled up with Chris Pronger, of all people. And then of course the six goals given up by DiPietro in his sixth start of the season at Wells Fargo Center last night.
To be fair, the Islanders did not play well in front if DiPietro, but the 29-year-old netminder was not at his best.
“It wasn’t a good game,” he admitted after the game.
In addition to the six goals surrendered, DiPietro incurred two penalties for leaving the crease and almost gift-wrapped a goal for Blair Betts with a giveaway in his own end.
Head coach Scott Gordon declined to pull him in favor of Dwayne Roloson, however, and said the blame wasn’t solely his to bear.
“He’s got to fight through it. Roloson played [Friday] and we have some time off,” Gordon said. “At that point it wasn’t a question of all being Ricky’s fault, either.”
The Islanders fell behind by two goals in the first, but the most worrisome scene of the period was undoubtedly that of head trainer Garrett Timms rushing out on the ice to check on DiPietro with time winding down.
After Timms' visit, DiPietro stayed in the game and returned in the second period.
“We just wanted to check on him because initially it looked like something was bothering him, but it was just a shot that hit his helmet,” Gordon said.
After goals from Kimmo Timonen and Jeff Carter left New York trailing 2-0, the Flyers put up a four-spot on the Islanders in the second.
Carter tallied his second of the game and Pronger also scored a pair of goals, with winger Andreas Nodl chipping in on an odd-man rush as well.
Trent Hunter left the game in the middle frame after being slapped with a suspect five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct for his hit on Andrej Meszaros that left the Flyers defenseman face-down on the ice.
“I thought I waited long enough that it wasn’t from behind and I’m pretty sure it was shoulder-on-shoulder,” Hunter said after the game.
The hit sparked a heated scrum along the boards; DiPietro skated out of his crease and joined in, trying to pull Ville Leino off Nielsen and receiving a penalty on the play.
Nielsen scored the lone goal for the Islanders against an impressive Sergei Bobrovsky after drawing a penalty shot on a shorthanded breakaway and opting for his patented backhander at 8:09 in the second.
The Danish center went down late in the third period after being cross-checked in the head by Briere in the faceoff circle, leading emotions to boil over and DiPietro to get locked up with Pronger one minute before time expired.
“I was just looking for somebody except him, let’s be honest.” DiPietro cracked after the game.