By Salley Fahey
Brian Elliott stopped 29 shots and the Flyers beat the New York Islanders 4-1 to stay within five points of the final wild card in the Eastern Conference.
Travis Konecny, Travis Sanheim, Scott Laughton and Sean Couturier each scored and Claude Giroux had two assists as the Flyers went 4-0-1 in their last five games.
”I thought our guys did a lot of good stuff,” Flyers coach Scott Gordon said. ”I thought overall, real strong jump defensively. When it looked like they were going to get an open shot we had guys who were already at the net front. I talked about, last week, about defending from the inside to the outside. We did a real good job of that.”
Elliott lost his shutout bid when Adam Pelech scored with 4:45 left. He had 13 saves in the second period as the Islanders pressed to get back in the game, and got his ninth win of the season and third in his last four starts.
”We needed him to come through with a couple big saves,” Konecny said. ”That’s a lot of offensive power coming out of there. He did a great job and kudos to our D group to stick with it tonight, and not give them much.”
The Flyers were forced to play with 11 forwards and seven defensemen with Jake Voracek out of the lineup with a lower-body injury. The Czech forward been a game-time decision, but was ruled out of the game after undergoing an MRI, Gordon said.
Nolan Patrick then left the game early in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. Patrick took a shot by Cal Clutterbuck off his head and left the ice with the help of a team trainer.
New York, which has lost three of its last four games, began the day tied with Washington atop the Metropolitan with 81 points. The Capitals beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in a shootout at Madison Square Garden earlier Sunday to surge ahead.
”We have our backs against the wall a bit here,” Islanders captain Anders Lee said. ”We’ve had a tough stretch and we just have to find a way to stick together, have each other’s backs and continue to move forward. This is a bad time to lose hockey games, but we have no choice but to rally.”
The Flyers jumped to 1-0 lead 8:21 into the game. Konecny was able to drive by Islanders defender Scott Mayfield and put the puck past Lehner for his 21st of the season. Radko Gudas picked up his 100th career NHL point with an assist on the play,
They extended the lead to two goals when Sanheim was able to put a loose puck past Lehner with 5:01 left int ye first. Sanheim’s initial shot was stopped by the goalie, but the rebound sat in the slot and he was able to gain control of the puck and score.
Laughton gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead 3:18 in the second when he scored off his own rebound. Couturier’s 27th goal of the year made it 4-0 with 4:46 left in the middle period.
By Clutterbuck suffered an upper-body injury of his own later in the game and missed the third period. Trotz did not have an update on Clutterbuck after the game