Isles Stomp Flyers In 4th Consecutive Home Victory
The New York Islanders extended their best home-winning streak this season to 4 on Tuesday night by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. The Isles, who are now 7-1-1 in their last 9 games, are now tied for 6th place in the Eastern Conference at 44 points with the Ottawa Senators.
After Michael Grabner scored the go-ahead goal towards the end the of second period, the Isles held their composure in another stellar third period effort to come out on top of the Atlantic Division's bottom club.
The surging Isles, now 20-16-4, are now 4 games over .500 for the first time since February of 2008. A playoff push during this abbreviated season seems more likely by the day as the Isles continue to stay in games and finish with points.
Philadelphia opened up the scoring early in this one, when Jakub Voracek received a lead pass and went backhand on Evgeni Nabakov. Voraceks momentum and strength pushed Nabakov, as well as the puck, into the net for a 1-0 Flyers lead.
Matt Moulson would tie it up for the Isles less than 5 minutes before the end of the first period. John Tavares started the play, where Brad Boyes found Moulson in the slot for a quick snap shot that beat Flyer's net minder Steve Mason.
6 minutes into the second period, Matt Martin inadvertently skated into Steve Mason, which clearly upset Flyers defenseman Braden Schenn. Although Martin had no interest in fighting Schenn, the fisticuffs ensued as Martin dropped him with a single jab. The scruff inevitably got the fans, as well as the bench, pumped up, as "We Want Playoffs!" chants rang throughout the near-capacity Nassau Coliseum.
The go-ahead, and eventual game-winner, was scored a little over 2 minutes before the second period ended. After Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette took a timeout to revamp his squad, Colin McDonald found Michael Grabner in the slot who fired a wrister past Mason to take a 2-1 lead.
In the third period, the Isles were able to hold off any kind of Philadelphia offensive push. Towards the end of the game, the Isles would put two more on the board to seal the deal.
With less than 2 minutes to go in the game, John Tavares intercepted a pass and skated up with Matt Moulson where the two played catch until Tavares took a shot. The rebound found its way into the net off of Flyers D-man Erik Gustafsson, who was sliding to stop any shot opportunity for Moulson.
Casey Cizikas would notch the empty netter less than 30 seconds later, as the Isles defeated the Flyers and extended their recent home ice success to four straight games.
Evgeni Nabakov ended the night as the third star of the game, with 26 saves and a .963 save percentage.
The Islanders now find themselves tied with the Ottawa Senators for the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference with 44 points. Although the Sens have a game in hand on the Isles, New York has more ROW (Regulation Overtime Wins) at 17, meaning any tiebreaker between the two would favor the Islanders.
The Islanders will next face the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on Thursday evening. The New York Rangers, who sit idly in 8th place and tie with the Winnipeg Jets at 42 points, will vist Long Island on Saturday.
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