PHILADELPHIA 3, ISLANDERS 2
By Jason Lockhart
Robert Esche stopped 40 of 42 shots and the Philadelphia Flyers took a 3-0 lead before going on to win 3-2 at the Nassau Coliseum Tuesday night. The loss is Islanders' fourth in a row.
Goals by Jason Blake and Mike Sillinger, 33 seconds apart in the final three minutes wasn't enough to get by the Flyers that have now won three straight.
"We came on strong in the second half of the third period," said Blake, "but that's not good enough."
Mike Knuble scored the first goal of the game on a low wrister, 6:26 into the second period to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead.
It became 2-0 Philadelphia when Kyle Calder stuffed home a rebound for his fifth goal of the season with 8:28 gone by in the third period.
Ryan Potulny netted the game-winner with 3:24 left in the third period. Knuble fed Potulny on a 2-on-0 break to make it 3-0.
Blake got the Islanders on the board with 2:57 left in the third period to make it 3-1. Blake broke in all along and shoved it between Esche's arm and body for his 23rd goal of the season.
Just 33 seconds later, Sillinger made it 3-2 when his slapper from the point went through a sea of players and found the back of the net.
But the Islanders fell just short, pulling Mike Dunham for an extra-attacker. Dunham made 32 saves in the losing effort after playing in his first game since November 30.
"We had 40 plus shots tonight," said Sillinger. "We kept going and going and eventually scored. We can't get discouraged and need to keep fighting."
The Islanders play again on Thursday against the Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey Devils at the Continental Airlines Arena.
Five Stars of the Game:
1. Mike Knuble: A goal and an assist on four shots
2. Robert Esche: Earned his third consecutive victory
3. Ryan Potulny: Tallied the game-winner in the third
4. Jason Blake: Got the Islanders on the board
5. Kyle Calder: His hard work paid off for a goal in the third period
Stat of the Game: The Islanders won 60% of their draws.
Havoc Zone Fans of the Game: Danny Tenney, Robert McInerney and Garret Geheran, who all attend Connetquot high school together, showed their true colors tonight at the Nassau Coliseum, waiting in line for over two hours to make sure they got seats to the Havoc Energy Zone. "As long as we have the opportunity come to an Islanders game, for only $19, we will come here fully decked-out in Islanders gear and face paint," said Robert. "I was in the Havoc Zone last Saturday, and it was awesome. It was complete (controlled) mayhem," said Garret. "Today was even better because we got free Islanders Yearbooks. Let's Go Islanders!" said Danny.
Slapshots: This is the first four-game losing streak of the season for the Islanders...Jason Blake is only five goals shy of his record 28 goals in a season, set last year...Attendance tonight was 10,461...Freddy Meyer (back) and Radek Martinek (foot) were tonight's scratches...The Flyers are on their first three-game winning streak...Mike Dunham's last game was also a 3-2 loss to the Flyers at the Nassau Coliseum (November 30).
Game Operations: Just 12-years-old, Tiffany Farrell, who skates out of Islanders Iceworks, looked like a pro after performing her routine at the end of the first period to the song "Route 66." Tiffany has been skating for seven years and took only two weeks to learn her routine for tonight's game...The popular Emergency Ambulance Service Karaoke Roulette returned during the second period to thunderous applause. Brian from Astoria, spun the wheel and landed on "Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears. He had quite the performance and earned himself a pair of Islanders tickets and a Rick DiPietro signed jersey for his efforts.
1 Mike Dunham
39 Rick DiPietro
32 Brendan Witt - 6 Sean Hill
3 Tom Poti - 8 Bruno Gervais
14 Chris Campoli 38 Allan Rourke
11 Andy Hilbert - 18 Mike Sillinger - 7 Trent Hunter
45 Arron Asham - 79 Alexei Yashin - 55 Jason Blake
25 Viktor Kozlov - 27 Randy Robitaille - 81 Miroslav Satan
12 Chris Simon - 17 Shawn Bates - 10 Richard Park
42 Robert Esche
67 Scott Munroe
2 Derian Hatcher - 45 Alexandre Picard
44 Joni Pitkanen - 77 Alexei Zhitnik
6 Randy Jones - 54 David Printz
12 Simon Gagne - 21 Peter Forsberg - 22 Mike Knuble
19 Kyle Calder - 17 Jeff Carter Dimitry Afanasenkov
29 Todd Fedoruk - 61 Mike York - 20 R.J. Umberger
55 Ben Eager - 11 Ryan Potulny 40 Eric Meloche