PHILADELPHIA – All the Philadelphia Flyers needed to get their power-play unit back on track were a couple deflections and lucky bounces.
Scott Hartnell scored two of Philadelphia’s four power-play goals, leading the Flyers to a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
After going 6-for-63 with a man advantage over their previous 15 games, the Flyers were 4-for-7 with the extra skater against the Islanders.
“You have to get the puck to the net,” Hartnell said. “Good things happen when you get the puck to the net.”
Danny Briere and Jeff Carter had goals, and Kimmo Timonen got three assists for the Flyers, 5-1-1 since losing 10 straight.
Freddy Meyer scored the lone goal for the Islanders, who are 2-6 since winning six in a row and quickly falling out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. New York trails eighth-place Philly by seven points with 12 games remaining. The Flyers are four points ahead of ninth-place Buffalo.
“It was tough before the game and now it’s even tougher,” New York coach Ted Nolan said.
Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro wasn’t too sharp in his first game since returning to action following the death of his grandmother. DiPietro missed two games for the wake and funeral. He didn’t get the start in favour of backup Wade Dubielewicz in a loss to the Rangers on Thursday.
Martin Biron stopped 32 shots for Philadelphia.
Briere scored 2:48 into the second period to put the Flyers ahead 1-0. Timonen fanned on a one-timer and the puck trickled toward the net. Islanders forward Richard Park’s clearing attempt went right to Briere, who shot it in from the side of the net for his 24th goal.
“Lately, we weren’t as good on retrieval,” Briere said, explaining the team’s recent struggles on the power play. “Once we get the puck inside the zone, we have guys who can make plays.”
Carter made it 2-0 almost 10 minutes later. Timonen set this one up with a slapshot that went around the net. DiPietro stumbled when he went behind to clear the puck and got caught out of position. Carter swatted in Scottie Upshall’s backhanded pass for his 26th goal.
Carter has been outstanding the past two weeks, helping the Flyers overcome injuries to All-Star Mike Richards, two-time, 40-goal scorer Simon Gagne, and Joffrey Lupul. Since Richards tore his hamstring on Feb. 23, Carter has seven goals in seven games.
Not bad for a guy who was rumoured to be on the trading block about a month ago.
Just 23 seconds after Hartnell scored on a deflection to make it 3-0 in the third period, Meyer cut it to 3-1.
Hartnell deflected another one in for his 22nd goal to give Philadelphia a three-goal cushion.
“Regardless how they go in, they are goals,” said DiPietro, who allowed four goals on 27 shots. “I felt good. I was seeing the puck well. Some of the times it was tough to see the puck at all, but for the most part I felt good seeing it.”
Notes: Flyers D Derian Hatcher returned after missing 12 games with a right knee injury. He played his 200th game with the Flyers. … Timonen has 10 points – all assists – in the last six games. … The Islanders are 0-3 in Philadelphia after going 4-0 last season. … Hartnell had one goal in 12 games. He has six in six games against the Islanders. … The four power-play goals tied Philly’s season-best. They’ve done it three times.