UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The playoff-bound Philadelphia Flyers manage to find ways to win, even when they’re outplayed for long stretches of time.
Danny Briere and Mike Richards scored shootout goals to lead the Flyers to their fourth win in five games, 4-3 over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
“We had to battle back and find ways to play better,” Richards said. “It’s nice that we can come back and win in that situation.”
Joffrey Lupul scored twice in regulation and Scott Hartnell added a goal for the Flyers, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit and strengthened their post-season chances. Martin Biron stopped 33 shots and beat the Islanders for the 11th straight time, dating to his days with the Buffalo Sabres.
Philadelphia is fourth in East, and trying to hold off Carolina and Pittsburgh for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
“Points this time of year are tough,” Flyers coach John Stevens said. “I thought our team showed a lot of determination to hang in there and come back like that.”
The Islanders, who beat the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings 2-0 on the road Friday night, got goals from Radek Martinek, Jeff Tambellini and Mark Streit in regulation. Yann Danis turned aside 33 shots for New York, which has the fewest points in the NHL.
The first period was scoreless until Martinek gave the Islanders the lead with 5:48 left. Nate Thompson won a faceoff to teammate Tim Jackman, who fed the puck back to Martinek at the left point. His slapshot got past a screened Biron for his fourth goal of the season.
The Islanders nearly doubled the lead, but Franz Nielsen’s apparent power-play goal was scored just after the horn sounded to end the first period.
New York did go ahead by two goals 3:03 into the second. Kyle Okposo brought the puck into the Flyers zone on the right wing. He sent the puck up in the air, and Tambellini batted it waist-high past Biron into the net.
“For two periods, we weren’t there at all,” Biron said. “In the third period, we made things happen.”
Philadelphia took control in the third period, netting three goals in a 3:55 span to take the lead.
Lupul got the Flyers on the board at 4:24. He skated in on Danis and sent a hard wrist shot from the right side that went in off Danis’ pad.
Hartnell tied it at 6:38 when he knocked in a rebound that Danis left in front of the net. Lupul made it 3-2 at 8:19 on a backhand.
“The first two periods were frustrating,” Lupul said. “We were working, but not making things happen.”
Philadelphia’s lead lasted 32 seconds, when Streit got New York even with his 16th goal of the season.
Even though the Islanders’ season will end on April 12, they are satisfied with the direction the team is headed in a youth movement.
“We’ve been playing a lot better,” the rookie Okposo said. “We know we can win with the guys in this locker room.”
Notes: Biron has won five straight road starts against the Islanders. … New York D Bruno Gervais played in his 200th NHL game. … Okposo has at least one point in 11 of 12 games.