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FINAL
PHI
4
NYI
7
FINAL
CAR
4
TOR
1
FINAL
VAN
2
FLA
1
FINAL
COL
1
STL
3
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CBJ
3
MIN
1
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CGY
2
LAK
1
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NJD
5
SJS
2

Kulemin scores two, first-place Islanders defeat Flyers

Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Senior Writer | Monday, 01.19.2015 / 9:44 PM

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders have at least eight more days of looking down at every other team in the Metropolitan Division. They are guaranteed to be in first place during the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend, which commences Friday in Columbus.

The Islanders clinched at least that much Monday with a 7-4 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Coliseum that put them five points ahead of the idle Pittsburgh Penguins in the division and one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first in the Eastern Conference.

New York doesn't play again until Jan. 27, when the Islanders are home against the New York Rangers. The Penguins can get to within one point of the Islanders with games Tuesday and Wednesday, but they won't be able to catch New York until after the All-Star break, which ends Jan. 26.

"The thing about our hockey club is believability and trust, accountability and leadership," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "I've said that from Day One. No one gave us a chance, and that's why you play the game. I'm very pleased up until this point with our hockey club."

The Islanders' offense, as it has been all season, came from up and down the lineup Monday. They had six different goal scorers and five players with at least two points.

Nikolay Kulemin led the Islanders with three points on two goals, including one off a shorthanded breakaway, and an assist. Kulemin, who had three points on Oct. 25 in a 7-5 win against the Dallas Stars, has five goals in the past four games and 20 points this season.

"There's a certain way we play, a certain structure and certain thing that we do, and I would like to think that how we play guys are going to generate if we do the right things," Capuano said. "[Kulemin’s] done those things. His play away from the puck is dictating where his offensive game is right now."

Michael Grabner, Nick Leddy and John Tavares each contributed a goal and an assist. Tavares scored a power-play goal with 7.6 remaining in the second period to give the Islanders a 5-2 lead.

Josh Bailey scored a goal, giving him seven points in the past three games. Anders Lee added an empty-net goal, Johnny Boychuk had two assists, and goalie Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves for his 25th win of the season.

The Islanders have 63 points and are 12-4-1 in their past 17 games. They enter the All-Star break with a 16-4-0 record at Nassau Coliseum; they were 13-19-9 at home last season. New York is 15-2-0 against the Metropolitan Division this season.

Halak and Tavares will represent the Islanders in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"It's no secret, [New York's home record] was a big disappointment last year and one of the reasons why we didn't have much success," Tavares said. "You play well within your division and play well at home you're going to have a pretty good chance to do some good things, and certainly we've done that so far this year. It's important to keep that going. We can't be satisfied."

Satisfaction isn't a concern for the Flyers, who trail the first-place Islanders by 20 points. The Flyers are 4-8-1 in their past 13 games. Not coincidentally, they have been outscored 15-4 in the first period in those 12 games and have allowed a first-period goal in 10 of them.

The Flyers have allowed a League-high 45 goals in the first period this season. The Islanders had a 2-0 lead within the first 8:06 Monday on goals by Grabner and Kulemin. Kulemin made it 3-0 with his shorthanded breakaway goal at 4:53 of the second period.

"I guess we gotta get ready before the game a little bit better, but we do a good job when they score a goal we don't let down," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "I think we played hard [Monday], just didn't execute the way we wanted."

Giroux harped on mistakes costing the Flyers, some of which they made in front of their net.

Kulemin and Bailey scored on uncontested rebounds left by starting goalie Rob Zepp, who was pulled at 11:49 of the second period, when he gave up his fourth goal on 20 shots. Tavares was alone in the slot with time to make a move before scoring his power-play goal.

"We gotta do a better job in front of our goalies," Giroux said. "Our best defense is our offense, so we have to go play offensively and keep the puck down there."

The Islanders frustrated the Flyers all afternoon with pressure, particularly on the forecheck. The Flyers were able to generate scoring chances when they broke it, but they broke down too often once the Islanders started going the other way.

Defensive breakdowns have been a hallmark of the Flyers’ struggles this season, but Giroux said he still believes they are a good team in spite of their 18-22-7 record.

"I don't think our record shows how good of a team we are," Giroux said. "If we start playing like we can play we're going to start winning games."

Save for a hiccup in Montreal on Saturday, when the Islanders lost 6-4 and were outshot 35-31, New York has been playing the way it wants to play and is capable of playing all season.

The game against Montreal is the only one of their past 17 that the Islanders have been outshot. They outshot the Flyers 41-29, including a 20-7 in the second period.

The Flyers, though, had the deficit down to 4-2 heading into the final minute of the second period, but a hooking penalty by Jakub Voracek at 19:05 gave the Islanders a second power-play opportunity in a span of less than three minutes.

Tavares answered with his 21st goal of the season. It turned out to be the game-winner.

"We feel we've put ourselves in a good position to take advantage going forward," Tavares said. "We've committed so much I think on both sides, physically and mentally, and you can see that game to game, how that approach has been so much stronger this year, how much stronger we are that way. You use this time [the All-Star break] to get ready for the stretch run.

"It's important to take some time off, enjoy it, and realize we have a good opportunity going forward."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Scoring Summary
1st Period
01:32NYI Michael Grabner (4) ASST: Nikolay Kulemin (9), Johnny Boychuk (17) 1 - 0 NYI
08:06NYI Nikolay Kulemin (10) ASST: Johnny Boychuk (18), Michael Grabner (2) 2 - 0 NYI
2nd Period
04:53NYI SHG - Nikolay Kulemin (11) ASST: NONE 3 - 0 NYI
09:07PHI PPG - Mark Streit (7) ASST: Brayden Schenn (18), Jakub Voracek (37) 3 - 1 NYI
11:49NYI Josh Bailey (8) ASST: Nick Leddy (14), Ryan Strome (25) 4 - 1 NYI
15:12PHI Michael Del Zotto (3) ASST: Jakub Voracek (38), Brayden Schenn (19) 4 - 2 NYI
19:52NYI PPG - John Tavares (21) ASST: Frans Nielsen (16) 5 - 2 NYI
3rd Period
00:49PHI Claude Giroux (15) ASST: Zac Rinaldo (2) 5 - 3 NYI
05:45NYI Nick Leddy (7) ASST: John Tavares (24), Kyle Okposo (30) 6 - 3 NYI
17:36PHI Chris VandeVelde (5) ASST: Luke Schenn (5) 6 - 4 NYI
18:57NYI EN - Anders Lee (13) ASST: NONE 7 - 4 NYI
Three Stars of the Game
Nikolay Kulemin
1st
G: 2Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 10:35
Nick Leddy
2nd
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 4TOI: 16:15
Michael Grabner
3rd
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 11:38
Penalty Summary
1st Period
04:35PHI Jakub Voracek  Boarding against  Casey Cizikas
15:48NYI Calvin de Haan  Tripping against  Chris VandeVelde
2nd Period
03:05NYI Brock Nelson  Holding against  Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
08:17NYI Casey Cizikas  Hi-sticking against  Michael Del Zotto
09:44PHI Sean Couturier  Hooking against  John Tavares
16:25PHI Andrew MacDonald  Tripping against  Frans Nielsen
19:04PHI Jakub Voracek  Hooking against  Cal Clutterbuck
3rd Period
NONE
shots by period
PeriodPHINYI
1st149
2nd720
3rd812
Total2941
Team Stats
CategoryPHINYI
Power Plays1/31/4
Hits3959
Faceoff Wins3526
Giveaways1016
Takeaways119
Blocked Shots1215
Penalty Minutes86
  • PHILADELPHIA
  • NY ISLANDERS
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
10B. SchennC0215017:10
12M. RafflL0001014:38
14S. CouturierC00-52215:11
15M. Del ZottoD10-11023:18
17W. SimmondsR00-15015:21
18R. UmbergerC00-41015:30
22L. SchennD0101022:04
24M. ReadR00-51015:01
26C. ColaiacovoD00-10011:10
28C. GirouxC1011017:04
32M. StreitD10-14020:48
36Z. RinaldoC011209:43
40V. LecavalierC00-20014:05
47A. MacDonaldD0000219:46
55N. SchultzD00-11017:05
76C. VandeVeldeC1014015:07
78P. BellemareL0000015:12
93J. VoracekR0210416:42
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
29R. Emery1820.90026:58
72R. Zepp1620.80031:19
#skatersPosGA+/-SPIMTOI
2N. LeddyD1144016:15
3T. HamonicD0005026:27
12J. BaileyL1011016:52
14T. HickeyD00-11016:52
15C. ClutterbuckR00-10013:27
17M. MartinL00-10013:54
18R. StromeC0122016:23
21K. OkposoR0102019:33
27A. LeeC1012014:39
29B. NelsonC0033215:41
37B. StraitD0011017:10
40M. GrabnerR1122011:38
44C. de HaanD00-21221:22
51F. NielsenC0104015:00
53C. CizikasC00-12214:19
55J. BoychukD0243017:21
86N. KuleminL2132010:35
91J. TavaresC11-16017:50
#GoaliesSvSASv%TOI
41J. Halak2529.86259:52