It took a shootout, but the New York Islanders snapped a three-game losing streak Thursday, beating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 at Wells Fargo Center.
Cal Clutterbuck scored the game-tying goal late in the second period, as well as the game-decider in the seventh round of the shootout. Clutterbuck beat Steve Mason with a low wrister glove side, while Jaroslav Halak stood tall against six of the seven Flyers shooters to give the Isles their third win over the Flyers this season.
“It’s not my primary objective, but you want to help the team, especially when the team is on a bit of a streak here,” Clutterbuck said. “For me, it was nice to get the monkey off the back a bit, it was good.”
The Islanders battled back from an 0-2 deficit, scoring two goals in the final three-and-a-half minutes of the second period to tie the score. First, Mikhail Grabovski took a Luke Schenn turnover in front of the Flyers goal and beat Mason with a quick release just under the crossbar. Two minutes later, Mason had trouble with a Brock Nelson wrist shot, allowing Clutterbuck to bang in the rebound and tie the score 2-2.
“I thought our offensive-zone play was pretty good tonight,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “We were active, had a third man high all night, our D were active coming down the walls. You shoot some pucks and good things happen. That’s how we scored. For me it was a solid effort from our goaltender right on out.”
Halak came up with two game-saving stops after the Islanders tied the score, one in the final minute of the second period and another in the last minute of overtime. In the second period, Halak moved laterally from left-to-right for a point-blank pad save on Brayden Schenn. He stopped Sean Couturier on an uncontested breakaway in overtime.
“I just tried to make myself big,” Halak said. “[Tavares] was coming back, so the guy had less time to make some moves, so he just shot it and I just tried to get out and challenge him.”
The Islanders goaltender was also clutch in the shootout, denying Jakub Voracek, the league’s leading scorer, as well as Flyers captain Claude Giroux.
“Our goalie made some big saves when he had to, especially in overtime” Head Coach Jack Capuano said.
Despite a hard, intense start, the Islanders found themselves down early, as Nick Schultz put the Flyers ahead 5:43 into the contest. Schultz was set up by Vincent Lecavalier, who corralled his own blocked shot behind the net and found the pinching defenseman.
The Flyers opened up a 2-0 advantage in the second period, as Chris VandeVelde beat Halak with a wrister from the left circle at 11:38. The Islanders had dominated the period to that point, holding the Flyers without a shot for over 11 minutes. VandeVelde’s shot was the Flyers second of the period.
“We were down two and showed resiliency,” Johnny Boychuk said. “We had to keep doing the right things and guys got rewarded.”
Boychuk briefly left the game at the end of the second period after taking a shot off the knee, but returned for the third period. He came up with a big clear on the Islanders only penalty kill Thursday, preserving what was then a 2-2 tie.
The Islanders head to Boston for a Saturday night tilt with the Bruins. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.