Its been a long time since the Islanders have skated on their home ice at the Nassau Coliseum.
Unfortunately, they were unable to pull out a win as they fell to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thanksgiving eve, 2-1.
"Its disappointing," Islanders goaltender Martin Biron said. "We played well for forty minutes, and then we stopped doing the little things that made us successful in the first two. I don't think it was anything Philly did that was differently, but we got away from what made us successful."
The Islanders struck first on the scoreboard however, as Trent Hunter started off the scoring 8:05 into the first period on a power play goal. With Scott Hartnell in the penalty box serving a roughing minor, John Tavares started the play off by fighting for a loose puck with Philadelphias Mika Pyorala. Diving for the puck, Tavares sent it back to Mark Streit, who then waited for Tavares to jump back to his feet and dished the puck right back to him.
Tavares then sent a cross ice pass over to a waiting Hunter over by the right face off dot. He wasted no time and one-timed Tavares' pass right past Philadelphia goaltender Brian Boucher for the 1-0 lead.
With the goal, Hunter now has an eight-game point scoring streak.
Tensions began to flare 4:52 into the first period as Brendan Witt and Ian Laperriere of the Flyers tangled at the Islanders center ice logo. As Witt was in the process of dumping the puck, Laperriere laid an open-ice check on the Islanders defenseman. It didnt take long before both men dropped the gloves and exchanged fisticuffs for about 15 seconds before Witt tackled Laperriere to the ice.
Laperriere got into his second battle with 9.7 seconds left in the first, this time with Nate Thompson. Both men tangled in the Flyers zone and fought for about thirty seconds before the linesmen stepped in to break up the fracas.
It looked as if the Islanders were going to escape the second period unscatched, however Mike Richards tied the game up with 33.8 seconds left in the second period on a power play goal of his own. With Brendan Witt in the penalty box serving a roughing minor, the Flyers took its power play to work.
Claude Giroux settled the puck at the top of the face off circles, and fired a pass over to Richards, who was waiting at the bottom of the left circle. Richards one-timed the pass past a sliding Islanders goaltender Martin Biron to even things up at 1-1.
Scott Hartnell gave Philadelphia a one-goal lead, and the eventual game-winner with 5:27 left in the third period with his eighth goal of the season. Following a turnover in the Flyers zone, Jeff Carter led the puck through the neutral zone and across the Islanders blue line. Carter dished it off to a trailing Hartnell, who one-timed a slapshot over the right shoulder of Biron for the 2-1 Philadelphia lead.
The Islanders were unable to garner any more scoring chances from there on in, as they managed just one shot in the third period.
"Something changed obviously," Hunter said. "We have to be able to close teams out and battle hard for the full sixty minutes."
Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon chalked up the change to a lack of speed in the final frame.
"In the first and second periods, we took the ice that was available," Gordon said. "In the third period, the only thing we wanted to do was make plays, and as a result we didn't generate any speed coming into the zone. We were easy to defend against in the defensive zone because there was no element of speed."
Hartnells goal was all the Flyers would need as the Islanders last-minute attempt to tie the game with Biron pulled came up short.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Brian Boucher, PHI: 28 saves for the win. 2. Scott Hartnell, PHI: Scored game winning goal 3. Trent Hunter, NYI: Goal, extends point streak to eight games.
Slapshots: Islanders outshot Philadelphia, 29-28...Andy Sutton, Nate Thompson, Mark Streit led the Islanders in shots with 4 apiece...Islanders were 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Flyers were 1-for-1 with the man-advantage...Blake Comeau and Rob Schremp (all healthy) were the Islanders scratches...This was the Islanders first meeting with the Flyers this year; they now hold an all-time record of 88-107-29 against Philadelphia...The Flyers were without Danny Briere, who was serving his first game of a two-game suspension.
43 Martin Biron
30 Dwayne Roloson
17 Jeff Carter - 18 Mike Richards - 21 James van Riemsdyk
19 Scott Hartnell - 28 Claude Giroux - 45 Arron Asham
13 Dan Carcillo - 27 Mike Pyorala - 14 Ian Laperriere
32 Riley Cote - 42 Jared Ross - 15 Andreas Nodl
20 Chris Pronger - 25 Matt Carle
44 Kimmo Timonen - 5 Braydon Coburn
77 Ryan Parent - 3 Oskars Bartulis
33 Brian Boucher
29 Ray Emery
1 - 0 NYI
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 PHI