Not even a fast start or new uniforms could help the New York Islanders beat the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Isles scored three first-period goals in the debut of their new third jerseys, but Danny Briere tied the game with 5:42 remaining in regulation and scored 2:34 into overtime to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 4-3 victory on Wednesday night.
The victory ended Philadelphia's two-game losing streak. New York has dropped its last three.
It was the Flyers' seventh consecutive win against the Islanders and the 22nd in their last 23 meetings. Overall, the Islanders fell to 2-9-4 in their last 15 games after a 3-1-0 start.
After the Flyers killed a penalty to Scott Hartnell early in overtime, Briere took a drop pass from Hartnell in the Islanders' zone, cut to the middle and whipped a wrist shot from 20 feet that beat Rick DiPietro for the win.
“We had some opportunities on the power play late,” Isles coach Jack Capuano said. “I thought they were real aggressive. They worked hard on the 4-on-3, they really came hard on that penalty kill and we couldn’t close it out."
Kyle Okposo, who hadn't scored a goal all season, had two in the first period and set up one by Michael Grabner. But that was all the Islanders were able to score, and Philadelphia got a second-period goal by Hartnell and a fluke third-period goal by Briere to force overtime.
The Flyers won despite another poor start -- they've allowed eight first-period goals in their last three games.
"Once again, it was a two-goal lead we gave the other team but we somehow climbed our way out of the mess again," Briere said. "It was a long process but we played defense better and cut their chances."
The game got off to a fast start, with each team scoring before 40 seconds had elapsed.
Defenseman Andrej Meszaros gave the Flyers the lead on the opening shift when he crossed the Islanders' blue line and teed up a 50-foot slapper from the left side that sailed past DiPietro just 18 seconds after the opening faceoff.
But the Islanders wasted little time turning boos to cheers. Grabner grabbed an errant pass behind the Flyers' net and found Okposo cruising through the slot. Okposo beat Ilya Bryzgalov low to the stick side at 37 seconds for his first goal of the season. The goal ended the Islanders' scoring drought at 142 minutes and 22 seconds and snapped a string of 13 consecutive opposition goals, matching the longest stretch of unanswered goals in franchise history.
Having ended his personal drought, Okposo found the net again at 10:26 during the Islanders' first power play. He finished a picture-perfect 3-on-2 rush by burying Josh Bailey's pass into a half-empty net.
"I finally got back to how I play my game. It was just unfortunate we couldn't pull it out in the end," Okposo said.
Grabner, who started the play that led to Okposo's second goal, was on the receiving end of a perfect setup by Okposo at 18:29. Okposo took a pass from Frans Nielsen, carried down the left side and snapped a pass to an onrushing Grabner, whose wrister from inside the right circle beat Bryzgalov cleanly.
The Grabner-Nielsen-Okposo line was broken up earlier this month, but found the chemistry it enjoyed late last season.
"We played good last year together and we had a lot of struggles at the beginning of the year,” Grabner said. “Today was a pretty good game for our line. We created a lot of chances, especially early on. We just have to build on that.”
The three first-period points by Okposo matched his entire season production entering the game.
"I thought Kyle really responded tonight and clearly was one of the better players on the ice," Capuano said.
The Flyers cut the deficit to one goal at 5:25 of the second, just as a tripping penalty to Steve Staios expired. Hartnell picked up Jakub Voracek's miss off the end boards in the lower left circle and zipped a shot over the shoulder of a ducking DiPietro for his ninth of the season.
"A lucky bounce off the boards, and I was able to put it over DiPietro's glove," Hartnell said.
Sergei Bobrovsky, who replaced Bryzgalov after the first period, kept it a one-goal game late in the second by robbing Matt Moulson and John Tavares on solo break-ins within a 30-second span.
"There were a couple of point-blank chances we gave up to press the other way, and he bailed us out -- a couple times off faceoffs, on breakaways, a couple times on 2-on-1s," coach Peter Laviolette said of Bobrovsky, who stopped all 23 shots he faced and improved to 6-0-0 against the Islanders. "He made some big saves and gave us an opportunity tonight."
Briere's goal with 5:42 left in regulation came after Braydon Coburn's dump-in took a funny hop off the boards and bounced away from DiPietro's glove. Briere raced in and lifted the loose puck into the net to tie the game.
"To get a gift like that," Briere said with a smile, "I was happy to take it. It was one I needed at that time."
Jaromir Jagr's return after missing two games with a groin problem didn't last long. He played 7:52 before leaving early in the second period with a lower-body injury and didn't return.