The New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers joined most of the NHL in returning to action Friday.
But only the Islanders showed minimal effects of a Thanksgiving Day hangover.
New York will look to extend its winning streak to four games on Saturday night when it hosts the Flyers in Elmont, N.Y.
Both teams will complete a back-to-back set against Metropolitan Division rivals.
The visiting Islanders squandered a two-goal lead before Brock Nelson scored early in the third period of a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. The Flyers, in turn, absorbed their ninth straight defeat (0-6-3) with a 4-1 setback to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
New York headed into the holiday following a 49-save shutout by goaltender Ilya Sorokin in a 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
The Islanders didn’t miss a beat early on Friday as Oliver Wahlstrom scored late in the first period and Jean-Gabriel Pageau tallied in the second.
“I thought we were good in the first period,” coach Lane Lambert said. “We were moving our feet. We were on the forecheck. I give our guys full credit. They came to play.”
The Blue Jackets took advantage of a pair of Islanders penalties to score a pair of power-play goals 33 seconds apart.
“It was a little bit of adversity, but that’s not a bad thing,” Lambert said. “I thought our guys handled it well. At the end of the day, we came out and won the third period and won the hockey game.
“So, was it an ideal sequence? he added. “No. It’s disappointing that we were down 5-on-3 anyway.”
Nelson agreed with his coach’s assessment.
“Up 2-0 and playing a pretty good game and then a couple of minutes there where I don’t know if we necessarily agree with all the stuff that happened,” Nelson said. “You’re back in a tie hockey game. Good response by us to weather that.”
The Flyers, who most recently won on Nov. 8, have spent the past two-plus weeks weathering the type of streak that’s grown all too familiar.
Philadelphia, which has allowed 39 non-shootout goals during the skid, is mired in its fourth losing streak of at least six games since the start of the 2021-22 season — but only the third-longest in that span. The Flyers lost 10 straight (0-8-2) from Nov. 18, 2021, through Dec. 8, and 13 in a row (0-10-3) from Dec. 31 through Jan. 25.
“It’s easy to be negative and point fingers, but it hasn’t happened in this room,” Flyers right winger Kevin Hayes said. “We’re hoping to end the streak soon. I feel like I’ve been part of too many of those here, and hopefully it ends (Saturday).”
The Flyers were outshot 24-15 in the first two periods Friday and were blanked until Hayes scored just beyond the midway point of the third period.
“I thought we were flat,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “I was really happy with how we started the game. I thought we were flat. … I just don’t think we had much juice tonight.”
–Field Level Media