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Flyers 4, Islanders 3 OT

by Brian Croce / New York Islanders
Danny Briere netted the game-tying and game-winning goals to lead the Philadelphia Flyers over the Islanders, 4-3, in overtime Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum.

Briere’s first goal came at the 5:28 mark of the third period when he corralled a rebound in front of the Islanders net and lifted it past Rick DiPietro to tie the game at three. After Philadelphia killed off a penalty in overtime, Briere struck again when he sniped a wrist shot from inside the blue line that won it for the Flyers.

Both teams entered tonight’s game with a two-game losing streak, but it was the Flyers who snapped their streak and improved to 12-6-3. The loss dropped the Islanders to 5-10-4, but they did come away with a point.

Braydon Coburn and Sergei Bobrovsky defend against John Tavares at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on November 23, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The loss overshadows Kyle Okposo’s breakout performance as he scored his first two goals of the season in the first period and added an assist. Unfortunately for the Islanders, that was all the scoring they would create.

The Flyers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Andrej Meszaros ripped a slap shot from just inside the blue line 18 seconds into the game.

The Islanders responded quickly as Michael Grabner found Kyle Okposo in front of the Flyers goal a mere nineteen seconds later for Okposo’s first goal of the season and the team’s first goal in seven periods of play. Okposo’s one-timer beat Ilya Bryzgalov blocker side and knotted the score at one.

Okposo recorded his second goal of the game on the power play to put the Islanders up 2-1 at the 10:26 mark of the first period. Grabner made a cross-ice pass to Josh Bailey who quickly found Okposo by the far post before Bryzgalov could change position.

“We just came out and played hockey,” Okposo said of the first period. “Every line was going, we had some hits, we killed some penalties and we had a couple power plays that gave us some momentum.”

Maxime Talbot is checked by Mark Streit at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on November 23, 2011. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Grabner-Okposo duo struck again late in the period, but this time it was Grabner on the receiving end. Frans Nielsen skated the puck into the Flyers’ zone and dropped it off for Okposo who then made a cross-ice pass to Grabner for his sixth goal of the season. Grabner took a quick shot in transition to put the Islanders ahead 3-1 after the first period.

The Flyers changed goalies at the start of the second period, with Sergei Bobrovsky relieving Bryzgalov. He went on to earn the win by making 23 saves and keeping the Islanders off the board for the rest of the night.

Despite surrendering three unanswered goals, the Islanders played a physical game throughout and generated their share of scoring opportunities.

“We’ve got to build on what we did tonight,” PA Parenteau said. “It’s not the way we wanted the game to end obviously, but there are a lot of positives like I said. The guys were committed, they were hitting hard, everyone was competing on the ice, which was something that was an issue the past two games.”

The Islanders will host the Devils Friday at 3 p.m. as the first half of a home-and-home series that concludes Saturday in New Jersey. Tonight’s game marked the first time the Islanders have worn their Third Jersey. On Friday, the Islanders will don the black sweaters again for the second of 12 times this season.

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