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Flyers 3, Islanders 2

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Patrick Sharp picked the perfect time to show his offensive side.

Sharp scored two goals, including the tiebreaker early in the third period, and the Philadelphia Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the New York Islanders 3-2 Thursday night for their fifth straight victory.

Sharp's performance - with help from linemates Jeff Carter and Brian Savage - came when the Flyers' high-scoring line of Simon Gagne, Peter Forsberg, and Mike Knuble had a rare off night. That trio was blanked after combining for 67 points in Philadelphia's previous 13 games.

``Our line isn't looking to score goals every night,'' Sharp said. ``But on a night when Fors and Gags had a rough night, we could chip in.''

Gagne had scored seven goals in the previous four games. Forsberg leads the NHL with 24 assists, including 12 in the previous six games.

``I just try to go out and play hard,'' said Sharp, who helped lead the Philadelphia Phantoms to the Calder Cup championship in the AHL last season. ``I'm not looking to necessarily go out and score two goals, but when you do the little things right, things go your way.''

Carter had a goal and two assists, and Antero Niittymaki made 38 saves for the Flyers, who have won eight straight at home.

Miroslav Satan and Mike York scored power-play goals in the first period to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead. New York held a 40-30 shots advantage, including 20-5 in the first period.

Sharp put Philadelphia ahead 3-2 with a slap shot from the right circle. He cut the Flyers' early deficit in half 3:35 into the second period when he fired a shot from almost the same spot.

Islanders coach Steve Stirling said Sharp's winner was the result of a defensive zone breakdown.

``We kind of went brain dead for 10 seconds in a 2-2 game,'' Stirling explained.

The Islanders scored twice in a 37-second span in the first period.

With New York skating with a 5-on-3 advantage, Satan took a centering pass from Alexei Yashin and one-timed a shot past Niittymaki at 14:39.

York scored on a slap shot from just inside the blue line at 15:16 with the puck bouncing off Flyers defenseman Joni Pitkanen and into the net.

Niittymaki, making his first start since allowing seven goals in an 8-6 loss at Carolina on Oct. 28, was sensational early. He stopped Mark Parrish on a breakaway and then turned away Jason Blake's rebound attempt in the opening minutes. Later, he made a sprawling save on Parrish's close-in attempt.

Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said Philadelphia easily could've been down 5-0 if not for Niittymaki's first-period effort.

``You just want to play well and rebound well after a bad game,'' Niittymaki said. ``Sometimes a team doesn't play that well and a goalie has to step up. If a player makes a mistake, the goalie has to stop (the shot). And it goes the other way around.''

Sharp said ``there were a lot of questions'' about how Niittymaki was going to bounce back after the Carolina game.

``But he was on top of his game tonight and he will only get better,'' Sharp said.

Jeff Carter tied it 2-2 with 3:07 left in the second. Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro stopped R.J. Umberger's breakaway but couldn't control the rebound. Carter flipped the puck in off defenseman Alexei Zhitnik.

``This was one of those games that we didn't deserve to lose,'' DiPietro said. ``They took it to another level in the second period. We needed to have that killer instinct and put teams away.''

Notes: The Islanders went 1-2 on their three-game road trip, losing 6-0 to Ottawa and defeating New Jersey 4-1. ... Niittymaki had allowed 12 goals in his previous two starts. ... Zhitnik had his team-leading 11th assist on Satan's goal. ... The Flyers haven't lost at home since dropping their opener to the New York Rangers. ... Islanders D Chris Campoli hit the post with a shot late in the third period.

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