– Danny Briere
says the Philadelphia Flyers
always feel they'll find a way to beat the New York Islanders
. Sunday, he was the one who made the victory happen.
Briere scored with 5:44 remaining in regulation to break a tie as the Flyers beat the Islanders 3-2. In the past 19 meetings between these two Atlantic Division rivals, the Islanders have won just once.
"There are teams like that throughout the League that you have success against, no matter what, and teams that have success against you," Briere said. "I don't know how to explain it, but the Islanders are one of those teams for us. It seems we always find a way to get it done, even when we don't play as well or we don't deserve it as much."
After New York scored twice in 36 seconds early in the third period to erase a 1-0 deficit, Andreas Nodl
tied the game at 11:34 with a power-play goal. Briere then put the Flyers ahead to stay when he took a pass from Ville Leino and wristed a shot past Dwayne Roloson for his 14th goal of the season.
"It was kind of a 2-on-2, but both of their defensemen got caught on one side of the ice," Briere said. "Ville just fired it through the middle of the ice where he thought I was going to be."
The victory gives the Flyers 38 points, tying them with idle Pittsburgh for the Atlantic Division lead.
The Islanders trailed 1-0 after two periods and appeared to be on their way to a second consecutive shutout loss before Jon Sim tied the game 5:12 into the third. PA Parenteau
came late on an odd-man rush, stepped into the slot and hammered a pass from Rob Schremp off Sim's skate and past Sergei Bobrovsky
's stick from 15 feet for Sim's first of the season.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette called his timeout – "he told us to play with more jam," Briere said – but it didn't help.
The energized Islanders took the lead 36 seconds later when Nielsen raced down the right side, moved into the circle and took a slap shot that leaked through Bobrosvky and into the net. It was Nielsen's third goal of the season and second against Philadelphia.
"That seemed to give us a little spark," Briere said of the Isles' quick pair of goals, "but it wasn't part of the game plan."
However, the Flyers tied it at 11:34 when Nodl picked up a blocked shot in the slot and backhanded the puck over Roloson's shoulder for his seventh goal of the season during a rare shift on the power play.
"They must have run out of bodies," he said with a laugh.
Bobrovsky finished with 28 saves, while Roloson stopped 24 shots.
Roloson dismissed the idea that the Islanders aren't getting any bounces – Nodl's goal, for example, came when the puck bounced right to him after defenseman Andrew MacDonald
blocked a shot.
"Bounces, you create them," he said. "If you're going to work, you're going to get those bounces. If we're going to sit back and let the play come to us, the other team is going to get those bounces."
Briere said the Flyers, who beat New Jersey 5-3 at home Saturday afternoon, didn't have much energy left after the first period.
"Somehow we found it in the last 10 minutes, which was nice to see," he said.
The Islanders are now 1-14-3 in their past 18 games since a 3-2 win at Tampa Bay on Oct. 21.
"It's the same old story; we have to find a way to win," coach Jack Capuano said. "Losing is unacceptable, and somehow, some way, we have to find a way to win.
"Mentally it's draining on us," he said of the slump. "They're playing in the best League in the world. They have to figure it out."
The Islanders entered the game on an 0-for-32 power-play drought and generated nothing on their first opportunity when Philadelphia's Claude Giroux
was called for hooking at 10:43 of the opening period. That power play was shortened when Blake Comeau
was called for interference at 11:39, and the Flyers capitalized three seconds after Comeau stepped out of the box when Matt Carle
's pass from the right of the net hit Roloson's pad and went into the net.
Roloson kept his team close by robbing Philadelphia's James van Riemsdyk with a little less than two minutes left in the period after the second-year forward took the puck away from New York defenseman Mark Eaton
. The Islanders, who had just 17 shots in Friday's 2-0 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, managed only four in the first period against Boucher.
"We really shut them down in the first period," Briere said. "We didn't give them anything. We could have been ahead more than 1-0 – we had lots of chances."
But the Islanders picked up the pace in the second period, out-shooting the Flyers 15-9 and generating more offense, though they were unable to capitalize on a pair of penalties that gave them 3:31 of power-play time, including 29 seconds of a two-man advantage.
"We didn't play well. We didn't come out with the same energy we did in the first," Briere said. "We let them hang around and in the third period, they started believing. We could tell right from the get-go in the third period. They came out with a little bit of jump, believing they could win."
The Islanders went 0-for-4 on the power play, extending their drought to 0-for-36 in an 11-game span.