Hartnell scores game-winner for Flyers
Scott Hartnell said he knew he wouldn't be open for long as he waited for Jeff Carter to hit him with a centering pass.
Hartnell remained free long enough to take Carter's backhand feed and fire a hard shot from the high slot for the winner with 5:27 left in the Philadelphia Flyers' 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.
"He slid his backhand and when it was coming, it was like slow motion," Hartnell said. "I just wanted to get a quick shot off and I think it hit off someone's stick and went in. We'll take it. It's a big two points for us."
Brian Boucher made 28 saves, and Mike Richards added his 10th goal for Philadelphia. Trent Hunter had a first-period goal for Islanders, and former Flyers goalie Martin Biron stopped 26 shots.
Carter set up Hartnell's eighth goal. Carter skated near the bench-side boards before sliding a backhand pass to an open Hartnell between the top of the circles. Hartnell's blast nestled above Biron's shoulder for the winner as Philadelphia (13-8-1) snapped a three-game losing streak to finish 2-3 on a five-game trip.
"Two-for-5 is not the greatest, but it's nice to get the win against a division opponent and go back home on a high note," Richards said.
New York (9-9-7) had just one third-period shot in returning home after a seven-game trip in which it picked up eight out of a possible 14 points. Rookie John Tavares had an assist for the Islanders in their first home game since Nov. 7.
"The problem was we didn't play enough in the offensive zone to maintain what we did in the first and second period," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said. "In the third period we looked to make plays that weren't there and they got sticks on it and counter-attacked. You can't forecheck unless you get the puck in the offensive zone."
After Toronto outshot the Islanders by 40 in a New York victory Monday night, the Islanders built a 29-28 edge in shots over the Flyers. That marked the first time in seven games the Islanders produced more chances than the opposition.
But Philadelphia tightened up defensively in the third, holding the Islanders without a shot for the first 11:33.
"It was a matter of us taking over the game in the third," defenseman Chris Pronger said. "We did a good job of finally get pucks in deep and creating a cycle and getting pucks on net."
Islanders goalie Dwayne Roloson was on the bench two days after his 58-save effort against Toronto. Biron, who played 133 games for the Flyers the previous three seasons, made 10 third-period saves to keep his new club in it.
"Five-on-5, we played extremely well and kept them in their zone and we just got away from that," Biron said.
The Islanders ended a 0-16 skid on the power play when Hunter fired a left-circle one-timer from Tavares past Boucher 8:05 in. Hunter's fifth goal in seven games ended New York's four-game power-play drought.
"We were sloppy at the start of the game but fortunately we kept it to one goal," Boucher said.
Without leading goal-scorer Daniel Briere, Philadelphia struggled to generate offense until Richards' power-play goal made it 1-all with 33.8 seconds remaining in the second period.
Briere served the first of his two-game suspension for his late hit on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Scott Hannan. But Richards compensated, notching his 10th goal by one-timing Claude Giroux's slot pass from the low-right circle.
Hartnell said the team made a collective effort to generate more third-period chances against the Islanders aggressive forecheck. Philadelphia blocked 23 shots, including 14 in the second period.
"Guys were sacrificing their bodies and putting them in front of pucks and when they were coming on net, Boucher was saving them," Hartnell said. "It was a big game all-around by everybody."
The Islanders' last win over Philadelphia was Feb. 12, 2008. The Flyers won all six games in the series last season and have won 14 of the past 15 meetings. Defenseman Matt Carle entered with a league-best plus-18 rating and was even in playing 21:20 against New York. ... New York's four-game home winning streak was snapped.