By Kerry Gwydir
The Islanders started out quick on Tuesday night at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia with two goals in the first four minutes, but they'd wind up giving up a trio of powerplay goals and steadily head to the penalty box as the Flyers rallied quickly for a 5-3 victory. Philly's Patrick Sharp notched two goals as the Islanders dropped to 2-3-1 in the preseason.
Just 16 seconds into the contest, Jason Blake notched his second tally of the preseason off a nifty rush. A giveaway by Flyers' defenseman Mike Rathje at the Philadelphia blueline enabled Janne Niinimaa to tap the puck to Alexei Yashin, who was curling at the Flyers' blueline. Sprinting through the middle of the ice was Blake, who used his speed to beat Philly defender Joni Pitkanen wide and score against Antero Nittymaki inside the left post.
With Philly down two men three minutes later, Yashin gave the Isles' a 2-0 lead 3:45 into the match off a third-rebound opportunity. Originally, Mark Parrish and Mike York were denied on the doorstep by Nittymaki, who twice made right-pad rejections on the Islander pair. But the third rebound pinged into the left faceoff dot where the Islander captain ripped a howitzer over the Philly goaltender's trapper.
The Isles then had to deal with penalty issues of their own in the opening period as both Shawn Bates and Sean Bergenheim were shipped to the box, thus putting the Islanders down two men for 1:02 midway through the first. That led to the hosts' first score of the evening as Mike Richards one-timed Simon Gagne's cross-ice into the back of the twine after Rick DiPietro hade made five-consecutive stops during the penalty kill.
With 1:41 left in the first, a DiPietro miscue wound up behind the Islander netminder. Philly's Sharp attempted a centering pass from behind the Islander net, which DiPietro tried to deflect into the corner. Instead, the goaltender put the puck between his own leg pads and over the goal line.
The story was much the same in the second as each team traded infractions and goals. The Islander penalty kill yielded yet another tally with 10:22 left in the second as both Alexei Zhitnik and Mark Parrish were in the box. A failed clear by the Islanders in the slot wound up as a slow roller to Kim Johnsson, who ripped a bullet over DiPietro's right shoulder and under the crossbar.
A pretty sequence set up by a Brent Sopel pinch allowed Steve Stirling's club to tie things up with 7:19 left in the second as Alexei Yashin's deflection in front banged off a Flyer and over the goal line. But the deadlock was short-lived as Donald Brashear wristed a shot from the top of the left faceoff dot through a screen that beat DiPietro less than 30 seconds later.
Sharp snapped home his second of the evening and the Flyers' third man-up goal of the game with 13:26 left in regulation. Johnsson initiated the goal when he wristed a shot toward the net that Brad Lukowich attempted to block. The loose puck then pinged to the left hashmark where Sharp easily jammed the puck into the open cage.
The Islanders' next preseason matchup is Thursday at Madison Square Garden vs. the Rangers at 7pm.
(55) Jason Blake-(79) Alexei Yashin-(81) Miroslav Satan
(17) Shawn Bates-(12) Oleg Kvasha-(37) Mark Parrish
(21) Robert Nilsson-(16) Mike York-(7) Trent Hunter
(10) Sean Bergenheim-(29) Petteri Nokelainen-(11) Mattias Weinhandl
(77) Alexei Zhitnik-(25) Brad Lukowich
(44) Janne Niinimaa-(3) Brent Sopel
(8) Tomi Pettinen-(24) Radek Martinek
(39) Rick DiPietro
(30) Garth Snow
(12) Simon Gagne-(15) Eric Chouinard-(17) Jeff Carter
(49) Brian Savage-(26) Michal Handzus-(19) Branko Radivojevic
(11) Jon Sim-(18) Mike Richards-(22) Mike Knuble
(87) Donald Brashear-(20) RJ Umberger-(9) Patrick Sharp
(44) Joni Pitkanen-(3) Mike Rathje
(28) Dennis Seidenberg-(43) Wade Skolney
(5) Kim Johnsson-(29) Randy Jones
(42) Robert Esche
(30) Antero Nittymaki