PHILADELPHIA – It didn’t take the Philadelphia Flyers too long to even their record after an awful start.
Matt Read scored two goals, Steve Mason made 36 saves, and the streaking Flyers beat the New York Islanders 5-2 on Saturday night.
The Flyers are 10-10-2 after their sixth win in seven games. They are 6-0-1 in that span and 9-3-2 since a 1-7 start.
“When we were 1-7, one of our goals was to get to .500,” Read said. “We have to continue to build off this and keep going.”
Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn also had goals for Philadelphia.
The Flyers fired coach Peter Laviolette after three straight losses to open the season. Craig Berube took over and went 1-4 before getting things turned around.
“It’s a great effort by the players,” Berube said. “They’ve listened, they believed, they bought in and they work hard.”
John Tavares and Eric Boulton scored for the Islanders, who have lost eight of 10, including all three games on their road trip.
“As coaches, if we were looking at it and it was structurally or systematically, we would change it for sure,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “When you talk about battle level or when you talk about protecting the wall and not protecting the danger area, that to me, you don’t change that, that’s hockey. There’s nothing you can do about that.
“You have to win your battles. We’ve played many systems since I’ve been here, but systems don’t work unless you battle. I’m not faulting on the battle level tonight, but a couple of plays we broke down because we were on the wrong side of the puck.”
After scoring just 22 goals in their first 15 games, the Flyers have 26 in the last seven.
They netted their first three goals against the Islanders in a bunch. Read and Simmonds scored 59 seconds apart to put the Flyers ahead 2-0 early in the second period. Giroux made it three goals in 3:02 for a 3-0 lead.
“We’re playing better, but we have a long way to go,” Giroux said. “Everybody is contributing. It’s a lot more fun.”
Read scored his third goal in two games with a slap shot from the slot off passes from Sean Couturier and Steve Downie. The trio, the Flyers’ third line, has combined for 13 points in three games.
“They work hard as a line, they don’t get out of position and they play the system to a tee,” Berube said.
Simmonds then took a pass from Vincent Lecavalier on a rush up ice and wristed a shot that beat goalie Kevin Poulin to the short side over his glove.
Giroux scored a power-play goal with a one-timer from the left circle off a behind-the-back pass from Simmonds. That goal ended Poulin’s night. He was lifted for Anders Nilsson.
After the Islanders got within 3-2, Schenn scored with 7:39 left to give the Flyers a two-goal cushion. Schenn lifted a shot over Nilsson’s glove just under the crossbar.
Read scored an empty-net goal in the final minute to seal it.
Despite playing their second game in two nights, the Islanders—following Friday’s loss at Pittsburgh—made the Flyers look like a tired team in the third period.
“The second half of the game, I think we were the better team,” Nilsson said. “I think as long as we can play like that for the full 60 minutes then we can win some more hockey games.”
Tavares scored on a backhander off a perfect pass from Thomas Vanek to cut it to 3-1 late in the second. It was just the second even-strength goal allowed by the Flyers in seven games.
Boulton scored his first goal in 73 games to get the Islanders within one goal 2:39 into the third. Boulton was alone in front when the puck trickled through off a faceoff, and he backhanded it past Mason.
Tavares had a chance to tie it a few minutes later but Mason made the save. The Islanders had several chances before Berube called a timeout and calmed his team down.
“We were on our heels, but we did what we needed to do to get the win,” Berube said.
NOTES: The Islanders, 14-6-4 on the road last season, are now 3-9 away from home this season. … The Flyers are 16-1-2 at home vs. the Islanders since the 2007-08 season. … The Islanders are 0-11-1 when they score fewer than three goals. … Giroux’s goal gave Philadelphia power-play goals in six straight games. He has three in seven games after starting the season with no goals in the first 15.