The New York Islanders got their offense going on Saturday, scoring four goals and earning a much-needed two points in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.
Josh Bailey scored two goals in a 1:23 span to break open a 2-2 tie late in the third period, as the Isles halted their two-game losing streak. Brock Nelson and Nick Leddy also scored for the Islanders (93 points), who moved within one point of the Washington Capitals (94 points) for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
"I felt it was important to go back to the group that you sort of challenge a little bit," Head Coach Barry Trotz said of only making one lineup change after two shutout losses. "I liked our response about stepping up to the plate here and getting it done. That says a lot about the group, a lot about our character and hopefully it gives us some confidence."
ISLES GET THEIR OFFENSE GOING:
After being shut out in two straight games, the Islanders re-ignited their offense on Saturday.
It started with Brock Nelson, who whacked a Scott Mayfield rebound out of the air and past Carter Hart at 14:27, snapping the Isles' goalless drought at 134:27 and tying the score 1-1 in the process after Robert Hagg's icebreaker.
That was the exhale moment for the Islanders, who loosened the grip on their sticks and got their mojo back in the offensive zone.
"Sometimes results breed confidence," Bailey said. "Sometimes you feel like you're doing the right things and the other team gets a bounce and things can snowball on you. Tonight we seemed to get one back there with Brock and we really found our game after that."
Video: NYI@PHI: Nelson bats the puck out of the air for goal
The momentum carried into the second period, as the Isles outshot the Flyers 15-5 (not including a pair of posts from Matt Martin and Bailey) and spent long stretches cycling in the Flyers zone. Leddy insured the Isles effort was not laid to waste, one-timing a feed from Mathew Barzal past Hart at 10:58 to put the Isles up 2-1.
Things got a little tense in the third period. The Isles failed to score on a full two-minute, two-man advantage, leading to Shayne Gostisbehere's power-play slapper past Robin Lehner (22 saves) to notch the game 2-2. The Flyers quickly went back to the power play, but the Islanders held firm, coming up with a key kill at a critical moment.
That set the stage for Bailey's winner, a high short-side snipe off the rush at 16:03. Bailey followed it up at 17:26, tapping in a feed from Leo Komarov to ice the game.
"Once we killed that off I felt pretty certain we'd get points," Trotz said. "Whether it was one or two, but a real couple shifts by Bails and that was huge. Great response at the end."
Video: NYI@PHI: Bailey nets Komarov's feed for second goal
BOYCHUK RETURNS TO LINEUP:
Johnny Boychuk could have been out for blood in his return to the lineup on Saturday. Instead, he was looking out for his team.
Boychuk put his personal beef with Flyers forward Jakub Voracek aside in his return to the lineup after missing six games (two with an upper-body injury from a Voracek hit, four as a healthy scratch). His focus was on helping the Islanders snap a two-game skid and the veteran did just that, recording an assist on Leddy's second period goal.
"You don't want to go out of your way, but you want to do what's right for the team," Boychuk said. "Tonight was for the two points and that's all that matters. You just have to play hard and smart."
Trotz said he was glad Boychuk, who he described as the "ultimate team guy" handled his emotions.
"You talk about the right response, that was the right response," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "He knows how important what we are trying to do here and he knows how important this game was. There was no me in his thought process, it was all about we."
Boychuk finished the game with five shots, four blocks and an assist in 17:32 TOI.
Video: NYI@PHI: Lehner raises the glove to stone Voracek
ISLES POWER PLAY GOES 0-FOR-5:
The Islanders power play went 0-for-5 on Saturday afternoon, including a full two-minute, two-man advantage in the third period, as well as a truncated five-on-three in the first period. The Isles power play is now 1-for-36 since Feb. 23, and Trotz addressed the five-on-three's after Saturday's win in Philly, saying he wants to see the Islanders simplify their approach and stick with it.
"It's just like anything. It gets in the back of your head. You try to get too fine," Trotz said. "Guys are double clutching it and trying to be too fine. It just slows it. The windows of opportunity are very short on the power play. If your double clutching it, that window closes. And all of the sudden you've got nothing and you're forcing it. It's frustrating. Just got to get a little bit more confident on it. Practice it again and retool it a little bit. See if we can get some success with it."
Video: NYI 4 vs. PHI 2: Barry Trotz
Robin Lehner made 22 saves in the win, while Carter Hart made 36 saves in the loss... The Islanders power play went 0-for-5, while the penalty kill was 1-for-2... Josh Bailey's goals were his first since Feb. 26.
The Islanders finish off a back-to-back weekend set on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Arizona Coyotes at NYCB Live. Puck drop is at 3 p.m.