Philadelphia Flyers' Scott Hartnell runs into New York Islanders' goalie Rick DiPietro in the second period of their hockey game Saturday, Oct.13 , 2007 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)
The Islanders pressed in the closing minutes to try and even the score at two, but Martin Biron and the Philadelphia Flyers held them off and added an empty-netter to clinch a 3-1 victory at the Wachovia Center, Saturday night.
The Flyers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes, but Josef Vasicek's shorthanded tally early in the third period gave life to the Islanders, who out-played and out-shot the Flyers 15-6 in the third period, but couldn't get another goal by Biron, who made 29 saves on the evening.
"I don't think we could play much better in the third period," said head coach Ted Nolan. "We just couldn't get the breaks. I like that we didn't give up and fought back. The second line of Satan, Vasicek and Bergenheim played well. That was a big plus. Hopefully, they can keep that up."
Rick DiPietro made 20 saves for the Islanders, who drop back to .500 on the season. Philadelphia raised their record to 3-1-0 and is now tied with the Islanders for first in the Atlantic Division.
"They're a much improved team from last year," said Nolan, regarding the Flyers. "With Briere, Knuble and Gagne, they have a lot of firepower. But I liked how our guys battled. We'll get our chances if we keep up the hard work."
Added Mike Comrie: "If we work that hard every game, we'll get some wins. Sometimes you'll get games that aren't that pretty. They got a little more traffic in front of the net than we did."
A power play and even strength goal put the Islanders in a 2-0 hole, heading into the third period. Jeff Carter made it 1-0 on the power play with a jam play at 6:37 of the second period. The Flyers then took a 2-0 lead when Sami Kapanen kicked a puck to his skate and chipped a forehand by DiPietro with 8:36 gone by in the second period.
Vasicek's blast at 2:38 of the third period, while shorthanded eluded Biron and found the back of the net to cut the lead to 2-1.
"I liked the way Vasicek played tonight," said Nolan. "We just need to keep getting the same consistency from him every night. We know what the Guerin line can do and the Sillinger line, but we need to spread out our scoring."
The Islanders tried desperately to get their second goal of the game in the final minute, but Jason Smith blocked a Vasicek shot in the closing seconds, and threw it into the empty net to secure the victory.
The Islanders had only 33 seconds of power play time in the game, while the Flyers went 1-for-4 with the man-advantage.
"We played a smart road game," said DiPietro. "Overall, I though we played a pretty solid game, the pucks just didn't bounce our way."
Five Stars of the Game 1. Jason Smith: A horse on defense, made crucial block on final play 2. Josef Vasicek: Played his most complete game of the season, tallied only goal for Islanders 3. Martin Biron: Strong in the third when he had to be 4. Sean Bergenheim: Moved up to the second line and worked hard 5. Sami Kapanen: Made a nice move on the game-winning goal.
Stat of the Game: Mike Richards won 15 of 18 draws.
Slapshots: The Flyers snapped a four-game losing streak on home ice to the Islanders, dating back to last season...Jiggs MacDonald was back behind the video booth, partnering with Billy Jaffe on the FSN NY 2 broadcast...The Islanders scored their first shorthanded goal of the season.
Forwards 26 Ruslan Fedotenko – 89 Mike Comrie – 13 Bill Guerin 20 Sean Bergenheim – 63 Josef Vasicek – 81 Miroslav Satan 11 Andy Hilbert – 18 Mike Sillinger – 7 Trent Hunter 12 Chris Simon – 10 Richard Park – 27 Darryl Bootland
PHILADELPHIA Goaltenders 43 Martin Biron 30 Antero Niittymaki
Defensemen 44 Kimmo Timonen - 21 Jason Smith 5 Braydon Coburn - 2 Derian Hatcher 6 Randy Jones - 28 Lasse Kukkonen
Forwards 12 Simon Gagne - 48 Daniel Briere - 22 Mike Knuble 20 R.J. Umberger - 18 Mike Richards - 15 Joffrey Lupul 24 Sami Kapanen - 17 Jeff Carter - 19 Scott Hartnell 55 Ben Eager - 34 Jim Dowd - 32 Riley Cote
Check out the Islanders TV Game Day tab to find complete coverage of tonight's game.
1 - 0 PHI
2 - 0 PHI
2 - 1 PHI
3 - 1 PHI
Holding the stick