Flyers overcome slow start to beat Isles 6-3
Thursday, 03.01.2012 / 9:32 PM
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette wasn't happy with the way his team came out in its first home game after a Western trip, so he called his timeout just 3:45 into Thursday's game against the New York Islanders
and let his team have it.
Whatever Laviolette said worked wonders.
The Flyers were down 1-0 on a goal by Josh Bailey
, and only a couple of brilliant saves by Ilya Bryzgalov
kept the Islanders from being up by two or three goals -- but after the timeout, the Flyers took control and used their size and strength to wear down the Islanders for a 6-3 win at the Wells Fargo Center.
"We were flat," Laviolette said. "Then we changed our attitude."
Rookie Matt Read
scored twice and Claude Giroux
had three assists as the Flyers jumped over Ottawa into fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 77 points, two less than fourth-place Pittsburgh. Bryzgalov finished with 21 saves as the Flyers beat the Isles for the first time in three games in Philadelphia this season.
The one bad note for the Flyers was the loss of forward James van Riemsdyk
, who left in the first period with a broken bone in his left foot after blocking a shot and will be out indefinitely.
Bailey had two goals and Kyle Okposo
also scored for the 14th-place Islanders, who've dropped the first three games of a four-game trip that ends Saturday in Boston. Rookie center Casey Cizikas
had two assists for his first NHL points.
But the Islanders had no answer for the Flyers' size and strength after they got rolling.
"They outmuscled us," Isles coach Jack Capuano said. "They were stronger on their sticks. On three goals we had coverage, but they were stronger on their sticks, stronger on the puck than we were, and that's the disappointing part. We know they're a big, physical team and they're good down low, but we had our opportunities. We have to battle a little harder one-on-one."
The Flyers flew home from San Jose on Wednesday, one day after a 1-0 loss to the Sharks, and came out looking like a team that looked jet-lagged.
Bailey scored 1:35 into the game when he came off the boards, took a feed from Cizikas and beat Bryzgalov through the pads - the ninth straight game in which Philadelphia has allowed the first goal. It nearly got worse: Frans Nielsen
fired just over the crossbar after a giveaway and Bryzgalov robbed Bailey seconds later, convincing Laviolette that he needed to have a few words with his troops.
"He was positive," forward Jaromir Jagr
said with a smile. "He said, 'Please guys, play our way."
Read had a different version.
"He has been saying the (same) things over and over," the rookie forward said. After the timeout, his message was heard and we played a great 55 minutes."
The Flyers were a different team after the timeout, and the smaller Islanders couldn't hold them off.
Read tied it with his 17th of the season, getting a piece of Andrej Meszaros
' blast and deflecting it behind Evgeni Nabokov
. Meszaros put the Flyers ahead at 19:10 when his power-play blast trickled through Nabokov, who got a piece of the shot but couldn't stop it.
Bailey finished off a pass by David Ullstrom
50 seconds into the second period to make it 2-2, but the Flyers went ahead to stay at 8:58 when Jaromir Jagr
carried down the right side, circled the net and flicked a backhander from the lower left circle that got between Nabokov and the post.
It was Jagr's 1,642nd career point, moving him ahead of Joe Sakic into eighth place on the NHL career list. Former teammate Mario Lemieux is ahead of Jagr at 1,723 points. It was also Jagr's 17th goal of the season and the 60th of his career against the Islanders. Jagr, who also had an assist, has 144 points in 96 career games against New York, the most he's had against any opponent.
"It was a lucky shot," Jagr said. "I was looking for the rebound and it went in."
Read made it a two-goal game 39 seconds later when he outraced the Islanders to the net and got a piece of Wayne Simmonds' pass from the half wall, deflecting it high over Nabokov.
scored his career-best 31st of the season 1:07 into the third period before Okposo rifled home a passout by Cizikas at 9:11 to complete the scoring. The Isles made Bryzgalov work the rest of the way, but they couldn't score again and Sean Couturier
banked a puck into the empty net with 26.1 seconds remaining.
"We knew coming in here that you had to win the walls and that they were physical," Capuano said. "We got outmuscled in a lot of areas."