Third-period power-play goals lift Flyers past Islanders

Photo: AP

For the 15th consecutive time the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Islanders. Although it didn’t seem it was going to roll that way for the orange ‘n’ black. The Flyers ran off a pair third-period power-play goals to beat the Isles 3-2 from the Wachovia Center last night while dealing with a short bench for most of the contest.

Let’s go through this slowly.

First, d-man Lukas Krajicek was drilled in the face by a puck, he left the game and then returned in the middle of the second period. Second, it was James van Riemsdyk who quickly after Karajicek went down was struck in the face by a puck. JVR also went down the tunnel only to return late in the second.

Finally, Dan Carcillo was slashed by Isles defensemen Tim Jackman’s skate in the left thigh near his knee along the boards. Carcillo hobbled off the ice and was helped to back by trainers and a bloody towel from the deep gash.

Everything that could go wrong for the Flyers happened and it occurred early. Rookie John Tavares ended his 14  game scoring drought when he shot a rebound past Michael Leighton early in the first period. Then, at 10:22 of the second period Kyle Okposo went top shelf on a nasty wrist shot that blew past Leighton to push New York to a 2-0 lead. Things weren’t looking good for the Flyers after that.

However, Danny Briere, from his office behind the net, found Jeff Carter open in the slot and Carter buried his 31st of the season past Dwayne Roloson at 12:03. It was 2-1 heading into the third.

“You have everybody coming at you,” Briere said. “You have defenders not knowing which way to look. They are looking behind them looking to see who is coming and they are trying to pressure you. Same thing with the goalie. He has to watch you behind the net but he doesn’t see what is in front of him. It is just an uncomfortable situation for the other team.”

The Flyers showed heart and determination when they knew their backs were against the wall and came out firing on all cylinders in the final frame. Once the Flyers got all three injured players back on his bench everything sort of fell in place, quickly.

While on the power-play, Claude Giroux streaking down the ice caught a beautiful pass from captain Mike Richards and swiftly backhanded the puck past Roloson to tie things up at 2-2. While picking up his 14 tally of the season, Giroux drew a high-sticking call to set-up what was ultimately the game-winning goal.

The game-winner came from the stick of none other than, Simon Gagne. Gagne, who has seemingly found his much-needed scoring touch again, shot the puck near the edge of the right circle that hit a stick in front past Roloson.

“I was trying to pass it to Richie there, but I was making a hard pass,” he said. “Sometimes you never know, they hit a stick or a skate and the puck goes in. I don’t remember the last time I did that. It’s a lucky goal and I’ll take it. [It was] a big goal for our team.”

The key point of the game was when coach Peter Laviolette shuffled his lines heading into the second period because of the short bench he had from the injuries suffered in the first period.

“It’s tough because we didn’t even know who was on the bench and we were scrambling,” Richards said. “Just to throw couple lines together to know who you were playing with. It’s tough when so many people are out and you don’t know whether they’re out or in.”

“We found a way to win the hockey game, we’ll take the two points, but we have to get better,” said Richards.

The Flyers are 7-1-1 in their last nine games and are quickly creeping up on the New Jersey Devils in the Atlantic Division. The Flyers now have 74 points whereas the Devils are at 79.

Notes:

Richards has racked up nine points(3G,6A) in his last six straight games…Gagne continues to stay hot with points in 10 of his last 13 games, and five goals in as many games…Carter has scored a goal in eight of his last nine.

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