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Nabokov, Isles beat Flyers 1-0 in shootout

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

PHILADELPHIA -- It's a pretty good time to be Frans Nielsen right now.

The New York Islanders center agreed on a reported four-year, $11 million contract extension Tuesday, then went out and scored in the shootout to help the Isles to a 1-0 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers.

John Tavares also scored in the shootout, and goalie Evgeni Nabokov stole the show, stopping 45 shots through 65 minutes and then denying Danny Briere and Wayne Simmonds in the tiebreaker.

The shutout was the second of the season for Nabokov and 52nd of his career, moving him into sole possession of 21st on the all-time NHL list.

"He won this game for us," Nielsen said of Nabokov. "We didn't play good, but we battled hard. He took care of us on all the first shots, and we made sure there were no rebounds in there and it worked. He was incredible. He had some very big saves for us."

Claude Giroux had possibly the Flyers' best chance midway through the third period when he stole the puck in the high slot in the New York zone and had an open look, but Nabokov wasn't fooled by Giroux's dekes and made the save. Nabokov later stopped Scott Hartnell on a nice chance in close from the right side.

In overtime, he denied a rocket from Matt Read at the buzzer.

"I thought he was great," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "The third period was a key period for them. We lost Dylan Reese in the second, we're down to five defensemen, (Milan) Jurcina is out, we've got Travis Hamonic out. We couldn't establish our forecheck to get any zone time, we didn't execute on our breakouts. They had a ton of shots in the third and they really tilted the ice, but Nabby made some key saves for us. No question about that."

It was the second straight outstanding game for Nabokov at Wells Fargo Center. In his last visit, Jan. 19, he stopped 40 of 41 shots in a 4-1 Islanders victory.

The victory also was the second straight in Philadelphia for the Islanders, the first time they've won consecutive games in this city since March 24 and April 7, 2007. They had lost 13 straight games in Philadelphia prior to their win here last month.

Nielsen's new deal, which the club said he'll sign tomorrow, keeps the 27-year-old center with the club through the 2015-16 season.

"It's nice," he said. "I'm really happy about being in this organization. I believe in the rebuild that we're having right now. I'm really proud to be part of this organization for another four years. I just can't wait to keep going here because I know we're going to be good."

The Flyers outshot the Islanders on Tuesday 45-18, including 16-3 in the third period and 4-1 in overtime. But even without Reese, who left the game after injuring his left knee in the second period, and with rookie Aaron Ness making his NHL debut, the Isles held strong in front of their goaltender. Andrew MacDonald played a game-high 29:19, while team captain Mark Streit played 27:07.

"They were putting pressure on our (defense) all the time," Nabokov said. "Then we got short on the 'D,' but we stuck with the system. The boys were working their butts off, skating hard, and it was five 'D' for half of the game. They did a hell of a job by containing them and doing a good job. The forwards helped them out -- they have to collapse, so they collapsed when they had to."

Hartnell and Giroux led the Flyers with six shots each, but they were frustrated by Nabokov at every turn. Even the Philadelphia power play, which had scored a goal in seven straight games and was 10-for-33 (30.3 percent) during that streak, was shut down on three chances.

"He (Nabokov) was there even before we tried to shoot it," said Philadelphia's Jaromir Jagr, who had four shots. "Even when we go give-and-go, cross-ice pass, he was there. I don't know if he's that quick or he read it very well. One time 4-on-4 Mes (Andrej Meszaros) gave it to me, I thought for sure it's a goal, and he was there before I shot it. He was good tonight."

Also good was Ilya Bryzgalov, who stopped all 18 shots he faced through 65 minutes to record his second shutout of the season and the 25th of his career. It's also the fifth time in the last seven starts he's allowed one goal or fewer.

However, shootouts continue to be a problem -- the Flyers dropped to 1-5 in the tiebreaker; Bryzgalov fell to 0-4 and has allowed eight goals on 10 shots.

On Tuesday, it was Nielsen beating him with his trademark high backhander, and after Nabokov snuffed out Briere at the right post, Tavares zipped a wrister past Bryzgalov. Nabokov then denied Simmonds to end the game.

"I think we play very well, but it's a bad taste in the mouth after losing in the shootout," Bryzgalov said. "Obviously, I've got to work on this kind of thing (shootout) in practice more."

It was the first time the Flyers have played a scoreless game through regulation since Dec. 6, 2005, when they beat the Calgary Flames 1-0 in a shootout. It was the first time the Isles played a scoreless game through 65 minutes since Feb. 24, 2004, when they played a 0-0 tie with the Boston Bruins.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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