It's finally over. Blake Comeau scored two first-period goals as the Islanders
broke a 15-game winless streak against the Flyers
with a 6-4 win on Coliseum ice.
The Isles grabbed control of the game in the first eight minutes, as Comeau scored the first two goals. It was his second-consecutive two-goal game and his fourth multi-goal game of the season.
Frans Nielsen scored 28 seconds after Comeau's second tally to give the Isles a 3-0 lead just 7:45 into play. The Isles dominated play throughout most of the session: The Flyers did not have an offensive zone face-off in the first 19:40 of the game.
Sean Bergenheim scored on the Isles' first shot of the middle session to give the Isles their first four-goal lead since Jan. 12. Mark Streit assisted on Bergenheim's goal to extend his point streak to four games.
Arron Asham got the Flyers on the board at 12:26 of the period.
The Flyers had the better of play early in the third, but Trent Hunter's 98th career goal regained the four-goal margin and chased starting goalie Brian Boucher.
After Flyer rookie James van Riemsdyk scored on a power play, Jon Sim's third point of the night put the game away at 11:52. Flyer goals by Daniel Briere (after a lengthy video review) and Darroll Powe (with 69 seconds to play) made the final score more respectable than Philadelphia deserved.
The win is the Isles' first over Philadelphia since Feb. 12, 2008 (0-12-3). The Isles scored six goals against Philadelphia for the first time since Feb. 27, 2007—the day the Isles acquired Ryan Smyth—and matched their highest goal total against the Flyers in 17 years.
Marty Biron improved to 5-0-2 in his last seven starts, making 31 saves. Biron improves to 9-6-2 in his career against the Flyers; he also had recorded nine wins for the Flyers in their winning streak against the Isles.
It's the first time that he has recorded points in seven-straight starts since going 5-0-2 for the Flyers in November 2008. Boucher made 19 saves for the Flyers, allowing goals on the first shot of the first and second periods, and on the second shot of the third.
Jeremy Duchesne, son of former NHLer Gaetan, made three saves in his NHL
debut. Duchesne is the fifth goalie to play for the Flyers this season, and the fourth to do so since the Flyers failed to acquire a goalie at the trading deadline.
John Tavares assisted on both Comeau goals; he now has four assists in three games. Tavares now leads the Islanders in scoring with 47 points (21-26-47), just ahead of Okposo (46), Moulson (45), and Streit (44).
Tavares is 3-8-11 in his last eight games. He is the only rookie currently leading his team in scoring; no other rookie is even close. He is second among NHL rookies in points—six behind Matt Duchesne. Tavares won all nine face-offs he took in the first two periods, but lost all five he took in the third.
Dylan Reese, who recorded his first NHL assist, and Bergenheim were both plus-four, while Tavares, Sim, and Freddy Meyer were all plus-three. Mark Flood was on ice for all three Flyer goals at even strength and was minus-three.
Comeau now has 16 goals in 59 games this season after entering the year with 15 goals in 107 prior NHL games. He has recorded 10 goals and seven assists in his last 16 games. His 16 goals are more than he has recorded in any professional season.
The win keeps the Islanders mathematically alive in the playoff race. The Isles now have 74 points—13 more than they finished with last season—and are eight points behind Philadelphia, Montreal
, and Boston
. Only eight points separate sixth and 14th place in the East.
The Flyers win the season series 5-1, and 10-2 in points. The series was much closer than it sounds—four of the five losses were by one goal.
It's the first time that the Isles have beaten the Flyers under Scott Gordon; he has now beaten every Eastern Conference team.
Up next: The Isles entertain Ottawa
on Saturday afternoon. The Senators rallied for a shootout win over Carolina
on Thursday after tying the game with just eight seconds to play. The win, Ottawa's sixth straight, clinched a playoff berth for the Sens who still have a shot at winning the Northeast Division.
The Sens have won all three games from the Isles—all by one goal—including an overtime game and a shootout.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick