PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia kept building its lead instead of blowing it. The Flyers showed how quickly they learned the importance of playing with a purpose for all 60 minutes.
Michal Handzus scored twice and Simon Gagne added his NHL-leading seventh goal to lead the Flyers to a 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
One night after blowing a four-goal, second-period lead in an overtime win against Pittsburgh, the Flyers dominated all three periods and showed no signs of letting New York rally.
``You just have to keep going and our players are starting to learn that,'' Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said.
Robert Esche stopped 19 shots for the Flyers, who outshot the Islanders 46-20.
Handzus scored the first and last goals of a four-goal first period for the Flyers. He gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead off a one-timer on a pass from Mike Richards.
``We really asked Michal to take a bigger bite,'' Hitchcock said.
New York's Mike York tied it on a two-man advantage, but the Flyers took over from there. After the Islanders had the first four power plays, the Flyers had the next seven. Philadelphia scored twice off the power play on 12 attempts.
The Islanders failed to score with a 5-on-3 advantage with the score tied and couldn't convert on seven other attempts.
``The beginning of the end was when we didn't get a shot on the 5-on-3 at 1-1 with your top power-play unit out there,'' Islanders coach Steve Stirling said. ``It was never the same again. It was a momentum-killer, plain and simple.''
Penalties continued to be a problem for both teams, with 27 combined penalties for 68 minutes called in the game.
With players shuffling in and out of the lineup and players skating hard to kill off the advantage, Hitchcock worries about the stamina of his team. He's playing all three lines more than he has in the past.
``When you have as many penalties as what's going on right now, it is really hard to keep a rhythm on power play,'' he said. ``It's hard to keep energy and that's why we use three units. If we're going to get seven or eight or nine power plays, it's hard to keep that energy. Players get tired.''
With goalie Rick DiPietro out with a concussion, the Islanders turned to backup Garth Snow. Snow couldn't keep up with a Flyers' offense that scored from all angles.
Keith Primeau passed the puck out from behind the net to Patrick Sharp, who scored a power-play goal for a 2-1 lead. Kim Johnsson scored less than 3 minutes later for a 3-1 lead.
Then Handzus scored the nicest goal of the game. He knocked his shot off Snow's leg and the puck bounced back as his body slid across the crease. Handzus reached back with his stick as far as it could go and tapped it in for a 4-1 lead.
``It doesn't matter what the score is on the board. We just have to keep playing the same way,'' Handzus said.
After the Islanders were called for interference and a holding penalty, Gagne scored his seventh goal, redirected from Eric Desjardins' pass that made it 5-1.
``We started off fast and we kept it up,'' Hitchcock said.
Gagne has scored a goal in all five games. He said he had no idea he was leading the league in scoring until earlier in the day.
``It's a little surprising, but it's early in the season,'' Gagne said. ``Hopefully that puck will still go in every night. I'm sure it's going to be tough to do it.''
Notes: Richards finished with two assists. ... C Peter Forsberg added his league-best 10th assist on Gagne's goal. ... The Flyers are 3-1-0 at home. All four games have been sellouts. Four of their next five are on the road. ... Gagne set a career high for consecutive games with a goal. ... Flyers LW Donald Brashear was left bloodied after a third-period fight with Eric Godard.
|Michal Handzus (2) ASST: Mike Richards (3), Kim Johnsson (2)|
1 - 0 PHI
|PPG - Mike York (1) ASST: Alexei Zhitnik (2), Alexei Yashin (2)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Patrick Sharp (1) ASST: Keith Primeau (2), Jeff Carter (1)|
2 - 1 PHI
|Kim Johnsson (1) ASST: NONE|
3 - 1 PHI
|Michal Handzus (3) ASST: Mike Richards (4)|
4 - 1 PHI
|PPG - Simon Gagne (7) ASST: Eric Desjardins (5), Peter Forsberg (10)|
5 - 1 PHI
|Power Play %||18.7%||23.4%|
|% on Road||17.0%||18.6%|
|% at Home||20.3%||28.0%|
|Jon Sim Too many men/ice - bench|
|Derian Hatcher Hi-sticking against Jason Blake|
|Derian Hatcher Hi-sticking against Jason Blake|
|Robert Esche Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Janne Niinimaa Tripping against Jon Sim|
|Janne Niinimaa Interference against Branko Radivojevic|
|Jason Blake Hooking against Peter Forsberg|
|Trent Hunter Roughing against Donald Brashear|
|Eric Godard Unsportsmanlike conduct against Donald Brashear|
|Eric Godard Misconduct (10 min) against Donald Brashear|
|Donald Brashear Unsportsmanlike conduct against Eric Godard|
|Brent Sopel Tripping against Mike Richards|
|Radek Martinek Interference against Donald Brashear|
|Arron Asham Holding against Dennis Seidenberg|
|Mike Knuble Hi-sticking against Chris Campoli|
|Eric Desjardins Holding against Mattias Weinhandl|
|Alexei Zhitnik Holding the stick against Brian Savage|
|Janne Niinimaa Cross checking against Peter Forsberg|
|Brad Lukowich Cross checking against Keith Primeau|
|Brent Sopel Tripping against Mike Knuble|
|Donald Brashear Fighting (maj) against Eric Godard|
|Eric Godard Fighting (maj) against Donald Brashear|
|Kim Johnsson Holding against Janne Niinimaa|
|Brad Lukowich Cross checking against Mike Knuble|
|Brian Savage Elbowing against Chris Campoli|
|Branko Radivojevic Hi-sticking against Jason Blake|
|Alexei Zhitnik Interference against Brian Savage|