NEW YORK - Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere hopped over the boards and skated on the Barclays Center ice early in the first period of Monday's 3-2 split-squad loss to the New York Islanders. He was finally back.
The defenseman played his first game in nearly 11 months after a torn anterior cruciate ligament last November cut short his first full professional season. Gostisbehere played just seven games last season, two of which were with the Flyers. The left knee injury occurred when he was with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Gostisbehere led all skaters with 25 minutes, 14 seconds of ice time. He said his knee felt fine and said that he did not even think about it.
Catching up to the speed of the game, Gostisbehere said, was the biggest challenge after the layoff. He seemed to adjust fine as he controlled the puck well and played with a presence on the blue line. He was on the bench for all three of New York's goals. The 22-year-old showed his flair for the offensive game, firing three shots including a near miss in the third period from the blue line.
"It felt good just to get out in game situation," Gostisbehere said. "Make plays, take hits, get hit, give some hits. It felt great to get back out there for sure."
It was the first game for the Islanders in Brooklyn since they moved this season from Uniondale, N.Y. Even though it was not tied, the game ended with a three-on-three overtime period. It allowed both teams to test out the five-minute extra session, which will be added this season.
The period did not produce a goal and the pace seemed a bit sluggish without an extra skater. The fans chanted "four-on-four" in the final minute.
The Flyers fell into a three-goal hole after being plagued by penalties. The Islanders' first two goals came the opening seconds of power-play chances. Jason LaBarbera, who signed a two-way contract in July, yielded both goals. Anthony Stolarz let in the third. The 21-year-old is coming off a rough season in Lehigh Valley.
Speedster Taylor Leier finished off a pass from winger Nicolas Aube-Kubel late in the second period for the Flyers first goal. Matt Read crashed the net in the third to score the team's second goal. But it was not enough. The Flyers pulled Stolarz in the final minute, but their shots went wide of the net as time expired.