It took all of one minute and thirty two seconds for the Flyers’ systemic flaws to once again be exposed.
There was Michael Grabner, streaking up the left wing as Carlo Colaiacovo and Andrew MacDonald attempted to catch up with one of the NHL’s fastest skaters. They failed.
Grabner gained the offensive zone, then unleashed a laser that was in the net before Rob Zepp could raise his glove. The goal was one of seven the Flyers would surrender in their 7-4 loss to the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum Monday afternoon.
“Grabner had a partial breakaway, (that) is a mistake,” Craig Berube said afterward. “Mistakes. Can’t make them.”
Ex-Islander Mark Streit, ex-Ranger Michael Del Zotto, Claude Giroux and Chris VandeVelde scored for the Flyersin their last regular season visit to Nassau Coliseum, but Zepp allowed four goals in 31:19 before being replaced by Ray Emery. Emery yielded two goals in 26:58 of mop-up duty, but was charged with the loss.
“We played hard, we played as a team (but there were a) lot of mistakes (that) cost us,” Claude Giroux said. “We have to do a better job in front of our goalie.”
Even with today’s home date against the Penguins remaining, the Flyers are assured of ending the first half of the 2014-15 season with a losing record. Following the third loss in their last five games, Philly are 18-22-7.
“Sometimes,” MacDonald said,” It’s good to regroup mentally.”
With 34 games remaining in their season, the Flyers are 12th in the East — and 24th overall — with 43 points. For a franchise which prides itself of contention, the Flyers are closer to competing for a lottery position than a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In order to reach the 90-point plateau, the Flyers would need to average 1.38 points in the season’s second half.
“Our record doesn’t show we’re a good team,” Giroux said. “We can be a good team, too. If we start playing the way we can play (we’ll start winning).”
Still in a league that’s increasingly become speed based, the Flyers have all the appearances of a team built to play a heavy game. Against the Islanders, it cost them repeatedly. The Islanders routinely used their speed to transition from defense to offense, finishing with a 41-29 advantage in shots on goal, and a 61-52 edge in attempted shots.
“We had some lapses that led (to their) opportunities,” MacDonald said. “[It] just seems like we’re waiting around [at the start of games].[The Islanders] trapped down on us a little bit. They did a good job checking.”
The Flyers leave the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike with an all-time record of 54 wins, 55 losses, 15 ties and four shootout losses in 128 regular season games. The Islanders will move into Barclays Center in Brooklyn starting next season.
But it was not a topic of conversation the Flyers were in a mood to discuss.
“Right now,” Jakub Voracek said, “I really don’t care.”
“It’s hard for us to (get on a) winning streak.”
You can follow NHL writer Denis Gorman on Twitter at @DenisGorman