PHILADELPHIA – In regulation or overtime, the Flyers simply don’t lose at home to the Islanders.
Andrej Meszaros scored at 4:42 of overtime to lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Meszaros buried a 25-footer from the slot over Al Montoya’s right shoulder for his fifth goal of the season and helped the Flyers continue their dominance over the Islanders.
“I saw the top corner, and it was the only shot I got actually,” Meszaros said. “That is the way I have been shooting in practice. I tried it and it went in. It was fortunate for me and for the team.”
Matt Martin’s second goal of the game with 27.2 seconds left in the third period sent the game into overtime. He scored earlier in the period to make it 3-2.
Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Flyers.
The Flyers continue to dominate the Islanders, beating them for the 12th straight time in Philadelphia. They have won 19 of the past 20 overall against their Atlantic Division rival.
The Islanders haven’t won in Philadelphia since a 4-2 win on April 7, 2007.
Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 32 shots for the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers.
The Islanders aren’t the only division rival to go down against the Flyers. Philadelphia is a sparkling 14-2-1 against the Atlantic and remains in a serious hunt for the NHL’s points lead.
“Everybody wants a piece of us, I think,” Meszaros said. “We want to win every game now we play at home. We want to be at the top of the league and have, if at all possible, a seventh game advantage, so we try to fight for that every game.”
Frans Nielsen also scored for the Islanders.
The Flyers, who held the fifth-best record in team history through 60 games, had lost two of three for what counts as a slump this season. Facing the Islanders seemed the perfect way to snap out of it.
Martin, who recently returned from a four-game suspension for a brawl against Pittsburgh, forced overtime that stunned a Flyers crowd already heading for the exit.
“It seemed like the puck was wobbling back and forth when it came across so yeah, I was a little surprised,” Bobrovsky said.
Meszaros made it worth sticking around for his game-winner.
Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger left the game late in the third period after he was hit by a slap shot on his forearm. General manager Paul Holmgren said X-rays were negative and Pronger is expected to play Saturday at Ottawa.
Pronger said he could have returned, but had trouble griping his stick.
“Guys shoot the puck hard, guys are trying to block shots, and things happen,” Holmgren said. “We’re fortunate that he is OK.”
The Islanders quickly tried to reverse their losing ways when Nielsen scored his eighth goal of the season midway through the first period. He took the puck along the boards through the neutral zone and fired a wrist shot from the circle past Bobrovsky for the 1-0 lead.
Richards and Van Riemsdyk scored second-period goals against Montoya to give them the lead.
Richards scored his 19th goal only two minutes into the period to even the score. Van Riemsdyk had his stick down and was ready for a sweet behind-the-back pass from all-star Claude Giroux that he got past Montoya for his 15th goal.
Carter’s tip-in in the third for his 28th goal made it 3-1 and it seemed the Flyers would coast toward another win against the slowly-improving Islanders.
Not so fast.
Martin’s first goal of the game was a dead-on shot from the slot that pulled the Islanders within one at 6:31.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a moral victory. We haven’t won a game here since 2007,” Martin said. “We really wanted to come in here and get the two points. It’s unfortunate, but like I said, we battled hard and found a way to get a point.”
Montoya made 39 saves to keep the Islanders in the game.
Notes: Holmgren said D Oskars Bartulis needs shoulder surgery. Bartulis will miss 10 to 12 weeks. Bartulis was injured on an illegal hit by Phoenix Coyotes left winger Scottie Upshall. Upshall was suspended two games by the NHL on Wednesday. … Flyers F Nikolay Zherdev cleared waivers and participated in the morning skate. Holmgren said there are no plans to send Zherdev to the minors.