PHILADELPHIA – Even the Broad Street Bullies weren’t as resilient as this group of Philadelphia Flyers.
Michael Raffl scored the go-ahead goal with 4:15 left, and the Flyers rallied to beat the New York Islanders 6-4 on Saturday night for the ninth comeback win of the season.
Andrej Meszaros scored twice, Andy Hall, Jakub Voracek, and Matt Read also had goals, and Claude Giroux had two clutch assists for the Flyers. They have already tied a franchise record for most wins when trailing in the third period and there are still 33 games remaining.
“It’s great,” Raffl said. “If we get that together over 60 minutes, I think we are a really hard team to beat. I think everybody wants us to play better over 60 minutes. It makes it a lot easier than going in a goal down in the last period and trying to fight back. It takes a lot of energy.”
Brock Nelson, Brian Strait, John Tavares and Cal Clutterbuck scored for New York, which had won eight of nine on the road and five of six overall.
“This one stings,” Tavares said. “It’s disappointing, especially with the way we played in the first two periods. We’ve got to bounce back.”
On the day he signed a $12.3 million, three-year contract extension, Flyers goalie Steve Mason was yanked from the game after allowing four goals on 24 shots.
Ray Emery stopped the five shots he faced to earn the win in relief. The Flyers are 24-12-5 since a 1-7 start.
Raffl fired a shot past goalie Kevin Poulin after a backhanded, drop pass from Giroux to make it 5-4. Read added an empty-net goal.
The Flyers tied it at 4 when Voracek ripped a one-timer from the high slot past Poulin. Giroux also set that up with a perfect, backhanded pass.
“We played a really good third period,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said. “We came out, got the puck in deep, and worked them down low, but the first two periods were inexcusable.”
Nelson and Strait scored 2:55 apart to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 Islanders lead in the second period. Nelson deflected Calvin de Haan’s slap shot past Mason. Strait then fired a slap shot just inside the far post, sending Mason to the bench.
Hall scored 3:45 into the second period to give Philadelphia a 3-2 lead. Hall deflected Mark Streit’s slap shot over Poulin’s shoulder for just his second goal in 47 games.
Mason preserved the lead when he stoned Michael Grabner on a 2-on-1 breakaway, sliding right-to-left and kicking the puck away with his left skate.
Shortly afterward, Tavares scored the tying goal but it was waved off because Thomas Vanek fell into Mason in the crease.
Less than three minutes after the Flyers fell behind 2-0, Meszaros scored his first goal. His shot from the bottom of the left circle hit Poulin’s pad and went between his legs.
Meszaros made a nifty move to score his second goal and fourth of the season. He faked a shot from the top of the circle, skated around a defender and lifted one into the top corner for his third career two-goal game.
A healthy scratch 20 times this season, Meszaros has turned into an offensive force since returning to the lineup. He has three goals and eight assists in the last 10 games.
“The first goal, I just tried to shoot it at the net, and I got kind of a lucky bounce,” Meszaros said. “The second goal, (Scott Hartnell) found me there. Their guy went down, so I just went around him and just picked a corner. It was kind of open high there so that’s where I shot.”
Tavares gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead, beating Mason with a wrist shot after a turnover by Philadelphia defenceman Nicklas Grossmann.
Another turnover by the Flyers led to Clutterbuck’s short-handed goal. Voracek misplayed the puck at the point, Frans Nielsen skated down the left side and centred a pass to Clutterbuck for a wrister that beat Mason.
“I thought we did some really good things through two,” Islanders defenceman Andrew MacDonald said. “We just didn’t generate anything in the third, and we just can’t have these lapses. We’re playing well as of late, and these things can’t keep re-occurring.”
NOTES: Philadelphia is 15-2-2 in the past 19 games vs. the Islanders. … The Flyers have allowed eight short-handed goals. … The Islanders are 3-11-3 against the Metropolitan Division. .. The Islanders fell to 17-5-2 when they score at least three goals. … Meszaros last scored two goals in a game on April 9, 2011, against the Islanders.