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Hartnell's late goal gives Flyers 2-1 win over Islanders

by Brian Compton /

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Scott Hartnell made sure the Philadelphia Flyers' five-game road trip ended on a positive note.

The gritty forward broke a 1-1 tie with 5:27 left in regulation and Brian Boucher made 28 saves as the Flyers ended a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 win against the New York Islanders on Wednesday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

"Getting two wins out of five games on the road, traveling cross-country and back … we had a lot of games in not many days," Hartnell said. "To get this win is huge. We didn't back down. We fought right to the end and we were able to hold on. "

The Flyers won the first and last games of their trip -- and spoiled a night thatMartin Biron had circled on his calendar since the goaltender signed with the Islanders over the summer. Biron finished with 26 saves against Philadelphia, where he played from 2007 until leaving as a free agent after last season.

Hartnell gave the Flyers their first lead of the night at 14:33 of the third period, although he'll be giving thanks on Thursday to Jeff Carter. The former first-rounder grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and skated down the left wing before sending a nifty feed to the slot, where Hartnell launched a one-timer that deflected off the stick of Isles defenseman Brendan Witt and past Biron for the game-winner.

"To be honest, I don't think he actually saw me," Hartnell said of Carter, who leads the Flyers with 22 points. "When it was coming, it was almost like slow motion. It was a long pass, especially on his backhand. I just wanted to get a quick shot off. It was a big two points for us."

Philadelphia (13-8-1) dominated the play in the third period, holding the Isles (9-9-7) to just one shot on goal.

"The urgency level went up," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "I thought we started to have a little more composure with the puck and we got more pucks deep when we had to. That gave us more time in the offensive zone."

It also made Biron's night busier than he would have liked. The former Flyers' goalie faced 11 shots in the third period.

"It's disappointing," Biron said. "We played well for 40 minutes, and then we stopped doing the little things that made us successful in the first two. I don't think it was anything Philly did that was differently, but we got away from what made us successful."

An unhappy Isles coach Scott Gordon agreed that his team stopped doing the things that had enabled them to dominate play for 40 minutes.

"In the first and second periods, we took the ice that was available," Gordon said after watching his team lose its first home game since Nov. 7. "In the third period, the only thing we wanted to do was make plays, and as a result we didn't generate any speed coming into the zone. We were easy to defend against in the defensive zone because there was no element of speed."

The Isles took the early lead when Trent Hunter scored 8:05 into the game on the power play. After Hartnell was whistled for a needless roughing call behind the Isles' net, Hunter parked himself in front of the crease and one-timed a gorgeous feed from John Tavares past Boucher. It was Hunter's fifth goal of the season.

New York took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission and outshot Philadelphia 17-9 in the opening 20 minutes.

Boucher, who kept his team in the game in the opening period, kept the Islanders at bay again in the second as New York continued to control play. He stopped all 11 shots he faced in the second before barely having to break a sweat in the third.

"Bouche obviously played unbelievable for us," defenseman Chris Pronger said. "He made some great stops in both the first and second to give us a chance."

Philadelphia went nearly two periods without a power play until Witt went off for roughing at 18:03 of the second.Mike Richards capitalized on the ensuing man advantage, as he one-timedClaude Giroux's feed from the right circle past Biron to make it 1-1 at 19:26 for his 10th goal of the season.

That goal appeared to energize the Flyers, who were a step slow for most of the first two periods.

"I think at the end of the second, we started finding our legs a bit more," Richards said. "I think they might of caught us off-guard with how fast they were coming at us. We knew they were going to be aggressive, but I thought we did a good job of protecting the puck later in the game. It's not the greatest road trip, but we're going back with a win."

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