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Flyers Defeat Islanders, 3-2

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Uniondale, NY, November 30) - Rookie defenseman Alexandre Picard had the first two assists of his NHL career and the Philadelphia Flyers used three special teams goals to beat the New York Islanders 3-2 Thursday night.

Picard, who along with fellow rookies Jussi Timonen and Lars Jonsson made up half of Philadelphia's depleted defense corps, set up power-play goals by Randy Robitaille and Mike Knuble with long shots as the Flyers bounced back from a tough home loss to win for just the eighth time this season (8-15-3).

Simon Gagne scored a short-handed goal late in the second period and Antero Niittymaki made 39 saves in his sixth straight start for Philadelphia, beaten 3-2 by Nashville on Wednesday.

Chris Simon backhanded a shot past Niittymaki with 30.3 seconds left in the middle frame and Richard Park added a goal in the third, but it wasn't enough offense for the Islanders in their second game without injured leading scorer Alexei Yashin.

The Islanders, 0-2 without Yashin after a 6-1-1 stretch, have scored four goals since the captain sprained his right knee. Backup goalie Mike Dunham stopped 20 shots in place of starter Rick DiPietro, expected to play back-to-back nights this weekend at Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers.

Dunham couldn't be faulted much on any of the Flyers goals.

Picard fired a shot from the point into traffic, and Robitaille tipped the puck past Dunham with 9:48 left in the first. Then, Philadelphia was protecting its one-goal lead in the closing seconds of the period when the advantage suddenly doubled.

Just moments after Niittymaki made a save with his mask, Park turned over the puck in the neutral zone to Gagne. The speedy winger raced up ice, eluded defenseman Sean Hill, made a backhanded deke around Dunham and pushed the puck in with only 5 seconds left in the period.

Gagne, who hit the post on a breakaway attempt Wednesday, has two of the Flyers three short-handed goals this season.

Picard struck again with less than 2 minutes left in the second when his long drive hit Dunham and caromed to Knuble, who knocked in the rebound to make it 3-0.

But Simon answered with 30.3 seconds remaining, taking Viktor Kozlov's pass in front and backhanding a shot past Niittymaki.

Park cut the deficit to 3-2 with 9:40 remaining when Miroslav Satan found him with a pass in front for his fourth goal.

Notes: The Islanders had 28 shots through 40 minutes. ... Islanders LW Jason Blake assisted on Simon's goal to stretch his point streak to seven games (5 goals, 5 assists). ... The Flyers were without defensemen Joni Pitkanen (left hip flexor) and Mike Rathje (backside). Pitkanen is day-to-day, but Rathje is out indefinitely. Jonsson was recalled from the AHL earlier Thursday. ... Rathje's late turnover Wednesday led to Nashville's winning goal. ... Philadelphia LW Geoff Sanderson sat out with a groin injury. ... Picard has two goals in 18 NHL games.
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