Flyers Rout Islanders Behind 5-goal 1st Period


Dave Hakstol actually smiled at the end of his presser.
"It's old-time hockey," the Flyers coach said.
It was genuine Weise of Fortune for the Flyers, who thumped the New York Islanders 6-3 Thursday at Wells Fargo Center to remain six points behind Boston in the wild-card standings (see Instant Replay).
Now the bad, but the Bruins won once again to lower the Flyers' tragic number to four points. Four points by the Bruins eliminates the Flyers, who lose the first tiebreaker (wins in regulation) to every team ahead of them in the wild-card chase.
"It's tough," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "We know we could be in a better position. That's on us. We can't control what other teams do … we gotta hope for some help."
Not happening. Just the opposite, in fact. Boston, Toronto, Tampa Bay and even Carolina all won.
Back to the here and now.
It took less than nine minutes for 28-year-old Dale Weise to record his second career Gordie Howe hat trick -- and the fastest Gordie in Flyers history.
"I didn't know that," Weise said. "It's a nice record to have."
Wait, it gets better. The Flyers had two Gordies in that first period -- another franchise first. Wayne Simmonds added one, also.
The only other times this happened:
Jan. 9, 1972 -- Bob Clarke and Gary Dornhoefer both had Gordie Howe hat tricks during a 10-3 rout of the California Golden Seals.
Jan. 5, 1985 -- Lindsay Carson and Rick Tocchet had Gordies in a 6-3 win over St. Louis.
Weise's Gordie beat out Tocchet's, which took 11:02 to occur against the Blues.
Five different Flyers scored in a 5-0 start to the game.
Weise began with a goal at 4:30, his fourth in nine games. Weise later picked up an assist on Radko Gudas' point shot and immediately dropped gloves with Travis Hamonic to notch his Gordie Howe hat trick with a draw.
"Just a lot of credit to our line there, Cootsy (Sean Couturier) and Schenner (Brayden Schenn) on the first couple of ones," Weise said. "Obviously, Gudas made a good shot on my assist. 
"And then Hamonic kind of comes over and asks me for a fight. He's a good Winnipeg boy, so I thought I'd give him one there. … We're both from Winnipeg. I kind of got excited. I couldn't say no."
Thomas Greiss started in net for the Isles and left after giving up his third goal (Gudas) on just eight shots. Jaroslav Halak entered and immediately gave up another to Jordan Weal, who now has goals in three consecutive games.
"The last couple of nights we've had to watch other teams do favors for us," Weise said. "This is a team we are chasing here and we finally have the chance to gain some ground.  We knew this is a head-to-head matchup and we had to handle our business."
Since Sunday in Pittsburgh, the Flyers have scored 15 goals in three games. They could have used some goals in Winnipeg and Columbus, but that's old news.
"We came out strong and we came prepared and ready to play," said Couturier, who had the Flyers' second goal. "I'm not sure if they were ready for us."
Couturier has 14 points in 14 games. Valtteri Filppula has been a member of the Flyers for 15 games. He's helped with matchups, making things easier for Couturier and Claude Giroux.
Routs such as this tend to make it tough on the winning goalie because he's getting no action. That wasn't the case here.
That's because the Flyers coasted after the first period and were outshot 22-3 in the middle stanza. Steve Mason saved their collective fannies as he finished with 38 saves.

"It's really hard to reset after that. It's really hard on emotion when we come out early, a couple fights, a start like that," Weise said. "It's really hard to ramp up the intensity after that. We knew they would come with a push."

Mason had two saves within 10 seconds of each other -- on Andrew Ladd and Brock Nelson -- both of which were rockets on open looks on separate rushes to keep the game 5-1.
"The second period, we were under pressure almost the entire period," Mason said. "We weathered the storm for the most part."
Hakstol knew that second-period letdown was coming, too.
"Human nature. No matter how much you talk about it, you want to have a different outcome and the intensity drops a little bit and that's all it takes," Hakstol said.
"When a team is going to push as hard as they did in the second, Mase did a great job to get through that."
Shame of it is, the Flyers remain in limbo with no clear path to heaven.

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