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Strength on the back end

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
The Flyers domination over the Islanders was secured by Sergei Bobrovsky who set aside 33-of-35 shots to lift Philadelphia to a 3-2 win at Nassau Coliseum. As much as the Flyers back end was their strength Thursday night, it was the same for the Islanders who were led by defenseman Andrew MacDonald.

Though he didn’t earn a star, MacDonald did all of the intangibles, joining the rush and ultimately ending the night with a plus-2 rating, two assists, two takeaways and two blocked shots in 23:37 of play.

“I can talk about Andrew and the way that he played,” Capuano said. “He generated some offense for us tonight, some key blocked shots, but again this was a team effort. The results weren’t there, but as a coaching staff we’re very pleased with the effort we had tonight.”

Andrew MacDonald #47 of the New York Islanders tries to slow up Harry Zolnierczyk #29 of the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 12, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
His wrap-around play behind the net led to Kyle Okposo’s goal at 22 seconds of the third period, which cut the goal differential 2-1. Finishing MacDonald's centering feed that deflected off of Matt Moulson’s skate was Kyle Okposo.

“You have to pick your spots whenever you’re going to jump up,” MacDonald said. “I just noticed their forward wasn’t looking when we were down a couple goals. We had to get some offense. I just jumped up and we had guys in front of the net creating traffic.”

With the Islanders having pulled Evgeni Nabokov with 48 seconds remaining, MacDonald again joined the rush. He maintained puck possession into the offensive zone, made the play to PA Parenteau who sent the puck to John Tavares cutting through the slot with 15.7 seconds left in regulation.

Tavares beat Bobrovsky to cut the differential 3-2 while setting a career-high seven-game point streak.

“I thought we played really well,” MacDonald said. “We gave up a power play goal. Our PK has been doing well lately. Unfortunately we gave one up tonight. Overall our game was really solid. We made smart decisions, good dump-ins, a good amount of shots and opportunities, but we have to tip our cap to their goaltender (Bobrovsky), he played well.”

Game Changer
Capuano said the loss came down to special teams, saying Scott Hartnell’s power play goal at 17:20 of the first changed the game. Nabokov was called for goaltender interference, tripping Matt Carle as he skated through the crease and Philadelphia capitalized. Hartnell redirected a puck from Jaromir Jagr through an open lane, sending the Flyers ahead 1-0.

Sergei Bobrovsky makes a glove save on Michael Grabner at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 12, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Wayne Simmonds doubled the Flyers lead to 2-0 at 13:08 of the second. Nabokov left the net to play the puck and couldn’t clear it. Positioned on the goal line, Simmonds' shot squeaked between Nabokov’s pads and the goal post.

“I’m sure (Nabokov would) like to have that one back, but he’s played extremely well for us,” Capuano said. “He made some key saves. They generated a few chances, but the chances they had were quality chances.”

Sean Couturier scored the eventual game-winner for the Flyers at 18:30 to make it 3-1, but Tavares’ goal at 19:44 cut the score, 3-2.

Top Notch performance
The outcome wasn’t there, but the Isles out-played the Flyers. The Isles out-shot their division rival 35-22, out-hit them 28-22 and won 52 percent of all faceoffs.

“When we play as well as we did tonight, you’d think we’d come out on top most times,” MacDonald said. “But the fact is, when we play them, we don’t always play that well. I think if we continue to play the way we played tonight, we’re going to have success.”

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