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Hilbert''s Goal Gives Islanders 4-3 Win Over Flyers

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Philadelphia, PA, March 24) – Andy Hilbert broke a 3-3 tie with a goal late in the third period leading the New York Islanders over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon at the Wachovia Center, 4-3.

On the winning goal, Marc-Andre Bergeron skated the puck from his own end into the Flyers' zone. He sent a backhand to a charging Hilbert who got a step behind the Philadelphia defense. Hilbert redirected the puck high over goaltender Martin Biron with 4:40 left to play in the third period.

"We got beat to the outside, and we got beat to the net. We turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and it cost us the hockey game," said John Stevens. "You can't let a guy drive to the net and you don't allow a guy to beat you outside. We got beaten on both counts."

Philadelphia is now 2-4-1 against the Islanders this season, with the final game of the season series coming on April 7 at the Wachovia Center.

With the game tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, Philadelphia took the lead early in the second period. Simon Gagne took advantage of a turnover in the New York zone and passed the puck to Randy Jones alone between the circles. Jones had time to make a nice move and lifted a backhand over Rick DiPietro at 3:17.

Riley Cote, making his NHL debut, forced the turnover.

"I tried to play my game as much as possible and be the energy guy," said Cote. "The second period went well for us and I started to play my game."

Biron stopped a shorthanded breakaway later in the period with the game 2-1, getting his right pad on Trent Hunter's attempt. DiPietro made an impressive save of his own on Gagne's shorthanded breakaway, diving across the crease at the last second to keep it a 2-1 game.

"He is pretty good at stopping the puck whenever he can see it," said Biron of his counterpart.

DiPietro's save was a key moment in the game, as the goaltender caught the Flyers in a line change shortly after with the Islanders still on the power play. He fired the puck to the opposing blue line, where Alexei Yashin tipped it to Randy Robitaille. Robitaille's breakaway goal at 9:16 tied the game at 2-2.

It didn't stay tied for long, though, as Ben Eager found the rebound of a Jeff Carter shot for a goal just 17 seconds later.

New York responded again with just 1:14 left in the second period. Jason Blake attempted a shot on net that was knocked down by Derian Hatcher in front of the net, but the Islanders forward played the puck off of Hatcher and found room over the right shoulder of Biron.

The game marked the return of Gagne and Scottie Upshall to Philadelphia's lineup. Gagne missed the previous six games with a left groin strain while Upshall was absent from the last three with an upper body injury.

The Islanders opened the scoring at 3:44 of the first period. Philadelphia was unable to clear a loose puck from its crease, and Richard Park flipped it in to make it 1-0.

The Flyers killed off four New York power plays before tying the game with under a minute remaining in the first. Gagne passed to Jeff Carter behind the net, and Carter banked the puck off of DiPietro to end a personal 15-game scoreless drought.

Carter added two assists to go along with his goal.

The Flyers are off until Wednesday night when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at 7:30 p.m. (Comcast SportsNet, 610 WIP).

FLYERS NOTES
Joni Pitkanen played in his 200th game in the NHL. … Philadelphia lost its fourth game in a row.
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