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Flyers rally to beat Islanders for 15th consecutive time

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- Not even a 2-0 lead midway through the game was enough to help the New York Islanders end their losing streak to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Simon Gagne's third-period power-play goal capped a three-goal Flyers rally and lifted Philadelphia to a 3-2 victory at the WachoviaCenter -- the 15th consecutive time Philadelphia has beaten the Islanders.

Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist, and Jeff Carter scored his ninth goal in his last nine games as the Flyers also beat the Islanders for the 10th consecutive time in Philadelphia.

The Flyers haven't lost to the Islanders since Feb. 12, 2008, and haven't lost to them at home since April 7, 2007.

John Tavares and Kyle Okposo scored for the Islanders, and Bruno Gervais had a pair of assists.

The Flyers spotted the Islanders a 2-0 lead on a first-period goal by Tavares and a second-period score by Okposo. Carter scored his 31st of the season midway through the second to get the Flyers on the board, and they capped their comeback with a pair of power-play goals 5:54 apart in the third.

Mark Streit was sent off for boarding at 7:24 of the third, and Giroux tied the game at 8:00. Mike Richards raced the puck down the left side of the ice into the Islanders' end. He centered a pass for Giroux, who had a step on the Isles' Jack Hillen and tipped the pass behind Dwayne Roloson for his 14th of the season.

Trevor Gillies was sent off for boarding at 12:32, setting up Gagne's game-winner. Matt Carle made a great play at the left point to keep a chest-high clearing attempt, and then Giroux made an even better play, using his bare hand to snatch a tipped Carle pass along the glass, drop it onto his stick and make a nice diagonal pass to Gagne at the bottom of the right circle. Gagne tried centering a pass to Richards on the far post, but the pass hit Streit and went past Roloson at 13:54.

"I was trying to pass it to Richy there," Gagne said. "I'm always making a hard pass and sometimes you never know, they just hit a stick or a skate and the puck goes in. … It's a lucky goal, but I'll take it. It's a big goal for our team."

"It went off my stick," said Streit. "I knew there was somebody behind me so I wanted to interrupt the pass. Not sure if he wanted to pass it or just shoot it. Looked to me like he wanted to pass it to the front of the net and that would be a tap-in so I just tried to take the passing lane away. It hit my stick and bounced unluckily for us."

It was just one of many bad bounces for the Islanders, who played very well for most of the game. They pressed the attack after Gagne's goal, generating a number of strong chances, but goaltender Michael Leighton, who finished with 25 saves on 27 shots, preserved the lead. Roloson made 32 saves.

"We played a pretty good game," Streit said. "We had a good start … then the last period we took two penalties and they scored on the power play."

The Flyers showed resiliency -- they had been just 1-17-0 when trailing after two periods -- and discipline. Philadelphia is the most penalized team in the League, but for the second straight game they walked away from scrums rather than take undisciplined penalties.

"That guy (Gillies) has only played two games, I think they were both against us," said Daniel Carcillo. "Hartsy (Scott Hartnell) made a dump and he made a late hit. We capitalized. I thought we kept our heads in the game and capitalized when we had the opportunity."

The Flyers took just one penalty in the game, a second-period tripping call on Lukas Krajicek.

"I thought the discipline was excellent," coach Peter Laviolette said. "We can't (retaliate). There's too much at stake. I think we've learned that. I thought it was really good discipline. Not only from actions like that, but just skating, keeping our sticks on the ice, not hooking and holding -- real good discipline."

Tavares' goal opened the scoring at 7:06 of the first period. Richard Park tipped Gervais' point shot and the puck trickled between Leighton's pads. Leighton couldn't find the loose puck, but Tavares, stationed on the right post, easily poked in the puck as it lay in the crease. The goal was his 18th, but first since Jan. 16.

"It's good to get that off my back," Tavares told "I thought I've been playing real well, just needed a couple breaks and it was nice to get one tonight. Now I can build off that, keep producing, keep contributing."

Tavares had been a scoring sensation at every level of hockey, including an Ontario Hockey League-record 215 in four seasons en route to being the first player picked in the 2009 Entry Draft.

"It was difficult at times," said Tavares, "but it's a good learning experience for myself. And down the road it will only benefit me."

Okposo made it 2-0 midway through the second when he took a cross-ice pass from Josh Bailey and sizzled a shot over Leighton's glove at 10:27 for his 14th of the season.

Carter put the Flyers on the board moments later with his 31st of the season. Kimmo Timonen dumped the puck behind the Islanders net to Danny Briere, who waited to find Carter in the left circle. Carter's quick wrist shot at 12:03 beat Roloson to the far side, over the goalie's left shoulder.

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