Flyers get spark from Fedotov but lose another costly one, this time in OT

Flyers get spark from Fedotov but lose another costly one, this time in OT originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

As the Flyers walked up the tunnel to start the second period, their 6-foot-7 Russian goalie led them onto the ice.

It was Ivan Fedotov time.

John Tortorella’s change in net seemed to spark his club but it wasn’t enough as the Flyers lost to the Islanders, 4-3, in overtime Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Morgan Frost forced OT with 9.6 seconds remaining.

Brock Nelson won it for New York 1:24 minutes into the bonus session.

Tortorella’s goalie decision definitely sparked the crowd. Fans applauded every Fedotov save, difficult or simple. They were at their loudest when the 27-year-old denied a Mathew Barzal breakaway over four minutes after Travis Sanheim tied the game at 2-2 early in the second period.

But the Flyers were outshot 17-3 in the middle stanza and were trailing again heading into the final frame.

“Soft,” Tortorella said of his team’s effort in the second period. “One guy played: the goalie.

“Not the whole game and not the whole group. There are certain people that they don’t have a clue how to play or just don’t have it in them to play in these type of situations. And this is why I’m glad we’re playing [these games] because we have to figure things out as far as what we’re going to become as a team here.

“That was embarrassing in the second period for the Philadelphia Flyer uniform the way we played. Embarrassing. High marks as far as how we came back in the third … some guys.”

The Flyers (36-29-11) are halfway through a stretch of six straight games against teams not in playoff position. So far, they’re 0-2-1 and have been outscored 13-5.

“You’re finding things out here, OK, when these games are a whole different plane,” Tortorella said. “It’s still regular season, right? But it’s a whole different plane. So we’re finding things out.”

The Flyers matched their season-worst losing streak of five (0-3-2) and have dropped 15 of their last 22 games (7-10-5).

To make matters worse, the club lost Sean Couturier in the first period Monday night to an injury.

The Flyers went 1-1-1 against the Islanders (32-27-15) in their three-game regular-season series. All three matchups were decided by one goal.

New York is four points back of the Flyers and has played two fewer games (more on the playoff race below).

Following a long and difficult journey, Fedotov joined the Flyers last Friday. He was in net three days later making his NHL debut.

He handled himself well, stopping 19 of 21 shots.

“Totally impressed,” Tortorella said. “I put him in a hell of a spot and he’s the only goddamn player that played in the second period.”

After Fedotov stopped his first 14 shots, Anders Lee got him with a deflection in front to hand the Flyers a 3-2 deficit at second intermission.

While his debut provided a highlight, nobody should beat up Samuel Ersson. He’s a 24-year-old rookie who was thrown into No. 1 duties and has played a lot.

Ersson has appeared in 27 of the Flyers’ last 32 games. And he has given the Flyers a ton of reliable starts.

On Monday night, he surrendered two goals on six shots.

Noah Cates gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the first period. But within an 18-second span, Matt Martin and Bo Horvat turned that into a 2-1 Islanders lead at first intermission.

New York netminder Semyon Varlamov stopped 30 of the Flyers’ 33 shots.

• The Flyers entered the night holding the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. They ended up moving into third place of the Metropolitan Division by a point over the Capitals.

But Washington has three games in hand.

If the Flyers are passed by the Capitals in the division race, they’ll be battling the Red Wings, among others, for the second wild-card berth. After beating the Lightning, 4-2, Monday night, Detroit is just one point back of the Flyers and has played one fewer game.

The Flyers have three days before they play their next game.

“If you don’t have enough balls to play in these type of games, rest doesn’t do us any good,” Tortorella said.

• Jamie Drysdale played his first game in five weeks after recovering from an injury to the area of his left shoulder and arm. Tortorella went with a more veteran-laden lineup. More on all of that here.

The Flyers are scheduled to practice Tuesday and Wednesday in Voorhees, New Jersey before they visit the Sabres on Friday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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