The New York Islanders beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 on Sunday night to extend their NHL-leading win streak to seven games - a feat the organization hadn't accomplished in nearly 30 years.
To put the seven-game streak in context, the last time the Isles did it in a single season was all the way back in 1989-90 season, when the team rattled off nine-straight wins from Dec. 31, 1989 to Jan. 19, 1990.
They did it in style, racking up a season-high five goals. Anders Lee (1G, 1A), Derick Brassard, Ross Johnston, Ryan Pulock and Mathew Barzal scored for the Islanders, while Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves.
Video: PHI@NYI: Lee slams home rebound to knot the score
ISLES OFFENSE CLICKS:
The goals piled up for the Islanders on Sunday night, as the team netted a season-high five tallies. Sunday also marked the third consecutive game the Isles had scored four or more goals.
"Over the course of last year and even at the start of this year, we were having trouble scoring goals. The last seven or eight games, we really made a point to bear down on our chances," Barzal said. "I think it's just chemistry at the same time. Nelly's line has a great pace to their game right now, Leesy and Bails tonight made it easy for me, the power play has been kind of good. It's just a combination of things, but I'd say mostly it's just chemistry."
Jakub Voracek gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead on their first shot 1:07 into the game, but that didn't faze the Isles, who rattled off three-straight goals to take a 3-1 lead. Lee fought off a check in the corner to deposit a Johnny Boychuk rebound at 3:17, while Brassard extended his scoring streak to three game with an over-the-shoulder-snipe off the rush at 4:22.
Cole Bardreau earned his first NHL point in the opening frame, feeding Johnston in front of the net to make it 3-1 at 11:46. Bardreau's point was just that much sweeter doing it against the Flyers, the organization he spent five years in prior to joining the Isles this summer.
Video: PHI@NYI: Barzal flies by defender and scores
Travis Konecny deflected a Justin Braun shot past Varlamov to make it 3-2 with 3:22 to play in the period, capping a wild opening frame.
The Isles goal rush continued in the second period, as Pulock blasted a trademark slapper past Hart at 4:13 for his first goal of the season. Shortly after, Barzal buried a breakaway at 5:38 to make it 5-2. Barzal's goal - his fifth goal in his last seven games - effectively chased Hart, who left during the next TV timeout after Brian Elliott warmed up.
Claude Giroux scored late in the third period to make it 5-3, but that's as close as the Flyers would come. Head Coach Barry Trotz was pleased with the contributions up and down the lineup, as 11 different Isles hit the scoresheet, but he singled out Lee who had a team-high two points.
"You always look at your leadership, how are they going to set the tone," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "Anders Lee was a beast today. His goal was a great example of leadership. You don't have a license to do less, you have a responsibility to do more. He knew it was a big game and he did more."
"We got contributions through our whole lineup," the coach added.
Video: PHI@NYI: Brassard finishes slick give-and-go
BRASSARD EXTENDS STREAK:
Derick Brassard extended his scoring streak to three games with his third goal of the season on Sunday.
Brassard's goal streak coincides with a move from center to the wing, where he's looked comfortable alongside Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier. Brassard and Nelson hooked up for a pretty goal in the first period, executing a give-and-go before Brassard roofed a puck past Hart.
"When the game starts, I'll play any position, it doesn't matter, I have to do my job. Right now everything is clicking with those two guys," Brassard said. "Brock has been outstanding and Anthony has been skating so well since the first game of the season. He's been on the puck and I think a little bit more offense with those two guys. They made me look good the first couple of games, made me feel comfortable and we've been clicking. I felt tonight we could have had a few."
ROSS THE BOSS:
Ross Johnston was rocking a vintage JOFA helmet during his post-game media scrum, the Islanders new player of the game token. It was a reward for a job well done, as the Isles big man finished the game with a goal and a fight, one assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick.
"It's nice when you can contribute," Johnston said of his first goal of the season. "I thought [Bardreau] and [Oliver Wahlstrom] did a great job tonight. Anytime you can contribute to a win, seven in a row is great, but eight is a lot better."
It was a strong game for Johnston, who drew into the lineup - along with Michael Dal Colle - to help replace Matt Martin and Tom Kuhnhackl, both of whom will be on the shelf for the next four-to-six weeks with lower-body injuries. Trotz made it clear to Johnston, this is his chance to be a regular in the lineup for an extended period and the coach was pleased to see him take advantage of it right away.
"The door is open to really make a statement for your career," Trotz said. "You're probably going to be in the lineup for a bit here. That should help your confidence and now I'm handing they keys over to him. What you do with the car [is up to you]. If you crash it, or if you ride it and take care of it, you'll make a statement."
After playing three games in four days, the Islanders have four days off until their next game, a Friday night tilt with the Tampa Bay Lightning, which is also Military Appreciation Night. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.