Sharp Scores Twice as Flyers Remain Perfect in Preseason
/ Philadelphia Flyers
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Philadelphia, PA – Patrick Sharp scored twice and Donald Brashear broke a 3-3 tie in the second period, as the Flyers defeated the New York Islanders at the Wachovia Center, 5-3.
With the win, Philadelphia improved to a perfect 4-0 in the preseason with three games remaining. The Flyers open the regular season on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at home against the New York Rangers.
Brashear's goal turned out to be the game-winner and was his first of the preseason. After Alexei Yashin tied the game with a goal at 12:41 of the second period, Brashear's wrist shot from the high slot just 26 seconds later got by goaltender Rick DiPietro.
Sharp added an insurance goal at 6:34 of the third period when Kim Johnsson's wrist shot from the point on the power play deflected off of a body in front and right to Sharp's stick in front of the net.
"[Sharp] played really well tonight," said head coach Ken Hitchcock. I think what Patrick did today is what we expect out of our younger guys, and that is, just come and work. The offense will take care of itself. It was nice to see him get a couple of goals. He's a good player.
"It was nice to have two goals," said Sharp. I was happy with the way I played tonight. I skated hard and competed on the puck and I had a good game.
The Islanders wasted no time in taking an early lead, when Jason Blake skated the puck unhindered through the Flyers' zone, made a move on Antero Niittymaki, and beat the Flyers rookie goaltender low to the stick side to make it 1-0 just 16 seconds into the game.
A flurry of penalties to the Flyers resulted in a power play goal by Yashin with New York on a two-man advantage at 3:45.
Philadelphia responded with a couple of scores to tie the game before the end of the first period. On the power play, Simon Gagne fed Mike Richards with a beautiful cross-ice pass, and Richards one-timed it past Rick DiPietro at 12:04 for his second goal of the preseason.
"Kim [Johnsson] and [Gagne] were moving the puck around really well at the top," said Richards. Gagne made such a hard pass I just had to get it to hit my stick and it went in.
Later, Philadelphia caught a break when Sharp weakly backhanded a puck towards the crease from behind the net. DiPietro tried to play it, but the puck deflected off of his stick, got caught between his skates and ended up behind him at 18:19.
With the game tied 2-2, the Flyers took their first lead of the game on a five-on-three power play. After an offensive zone face off draw, the puck squirted out to Johnsson and his slap shot halfway through the second period beat DiPietro cleanly to the top corner.
Philadelphia finished 3-for-10 on the power play, while New York went 1-for-13.
DiPietro and Niittymaki each played the entire game in net. Niittymaki recorded the win, making 31 saves, while DiPietro stopped 24 shots in suffering the loss.
"We had a lot of good players tonight," said Hitchcock. We really caught the flow of the game in the second half, I thought we played really well.
The Flyers play in their third and final home preseason game on Thursday when they host the New Jersey Devils. On Friday they are in New Jersey, before they travel to Washington to play the Capitals on Saturday to wrap up the exhibition schedule.
FLYERS NOTES Chris Therien was a late scratch for the Flyers, and was replaced in the lineup by Wade Skolney who was playing in his second preseason game. … Keith Primeau missed the game with a bruised left shoulder suffered in practice on Monday. … The Flyers improved to 3-1 in the post-game shootouts. Sharp and Jeff Carter converted for Philadelphia, while Niittymaki stopped Yashin and Miroslav Satan. ... R.J. Umberger and Johnsson tallied two assists each in the game.