PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Simon Gagne credited Mike Richards with making a great pass to set up his game-winning goal that helped the Philadelphia Flyers inch closer to the top of the Atlantic Division.
Gagne scored the tiebreaker on a power-play with less than 9 minutes left to lead the Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
"It was a nice play by Richie," Gagne said. "I was walking in with my speed and when you get a chance like that, your shot is going to come pretty hard at the net. I was able to find a little bit of space on the glove side."
Gagne scored his team-leading 14th goal on a one-timer from the top of the left circle at 11:08 of the third period - just 11 seconds after Brendan Witt was called for interference - to help the Flyers move into a tie with Pittsburgh for second place in the Atlantic.
"I had a lot of time, and as a player you like when you get a chance to get a slap shot," Gagne said.
Islanders goaltender Yann Danis said Gagne just made a good shot.
"I was at the top of my crease and had a good look at it, but it just beat me," Danis said.
Danis, recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL on Nov. 28, stopped 21 shots in his second start of the season for the Islanders. Joey McDonald started the last 17 games for New York.
Blake Comeau had pulled the Islanders into a 3-3 tie at 2:17 of the third period with his first goal since last March 29.
Taking advantage of a Philadelphia turnover, Comeau skated in and bounced a shot off Flyers defenseman Lasse Kukkonen and between the pads of goalie Martin Biron.
Arron Asham, Darroll Powe, and Jeff Carter also scored for Philadelphia, which is unbeaten in regulation in its last seven home games (5-0-2). Carter tied Buffalo's Thomas Vanek for the NHL lead with his 20th goal.
Philadelphia started the season by dropping their first six games, but the Flyers are now within four points of the first place New York Rangers in the Atlantic Division. Coach John Stevens said the Flyers are trying to take advantage of their current stretch of eight of ll games at home before Christmas.
"There are so many teams above you, around you, below you, I think we have to tackle each game as it comes," Stevens said. "We were trying to get into that top eight and now we are trying to climb as far as we can and take advantage of these games at home."
Andy Hilbert and Doug Weight also scored for the Islanders, who have lost four games in a row and six of their last seven.
Biron made 24 saves to win his ninth straight start against the Islanders going back to last season.
The Islanders scored twice in the span of 1:01 to take a 2-0 lead midway through the first period.
Hilbert redirected Chris Campoli's shot into the net on a power play at 9:23, and Weight put in a backhanded rebound at 10:24.
Asham got the Flyers to within 2-1 at 11:55 with his second goal of the season and first in 15 games. He scored on a one-timer from the slot after taking a pass from behind the net from Riley Cote, who outmuscled Islanders winger Jon Sim along the boards for the puck.
Powe made it 2-2 with his first NHL goal at 8:09 of the second period, hammering in a rebound after Danis couldn't handle Mike Richards' shot from the left circle.
Carter put the Flyers ahead at 16:02 of the period on a rebound of a shot by Scottie Upshall.
Notes: Philadelphia had won two of its previous three games, all in overtime. ...The Islanders played the second of four road games with trips to Pittsburgh and Columbus coming up. ... New York suffered its first loss in the second half of five back-to-back games. ...Islanders D Campoli played in his 200th NHL game.
|PPG - Andy Hilbert (7) ASST: Chris Campoli (5), Mark Streit (14)|
1 - 0 NYI
|Doug Weight (6) ASST: Sean Bergenheim (4), Trent Hunter (10)|
2 - 0 NYI
|Arron Asham (2) ASST: Riley Cote (1)|
2 - 1 NYI
|Darroll Powe (1) ASST: Mike Richards (18), Ossi Vaananen (7)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Jeff Carter (20) ASST: Scottie Upshall (5), Scott Hartnell (9)|
3 - 2 PHI
|Blake Comeau (1) ASST: Josh Bailey (6), Bill Guerin (9)|
3 - 3 Tie
|PPG - Simon Gagne (14) ASST: Mike Richards (19), Braydon Coburn (8)|
4 - 3 PHI
|Power Play %||17.9%||16.4%|
|% on Road||13.3%||16.7%|
|% at Home||21.6%||16.2%|
|Mitchell Fritz Holding against Riley Cote|
|Scott Hartnell Hooking against Thomas Pock|
|Mike Knuble Hooking against Trent Hunter|
|Riley Cote Fighting (maj) against Mitchell Fritz|
|Mitchell Fritz Fighting (maj) against Riley Cote|
|Blake Comeau Too many men/ice - bench|
|Bill Guerin Hi-sticking against Scottie Upshall|
|Scottie Upshall Hi-sticking against Bill Guerin|
|Luca Sbisa Tripping against Doug Weight|
|Brendan Witt Interference against Joffrey Lupul|