New York at Philadelphia

Flyers 5, Islanders 1


PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia kept building its lead instead of blowing it. The Flyers showed how quickly they learned the importance of playing with a purpose for all 60 minutes.

Michal Handzus scored twice and Simon Gagne added his NHL-leading seventh goal to lead the Flyers to a 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

One night after blowing a four-goal, second-period lead in an overtime win against Pittsburgh, the Flyers dominated all three periods and showed no signs of letting New York rally.

"You just have to keep going and our players are starting to learn that," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said.

Robert Esche stopped 19 shots for the Flyers, who outshot the Islanders 46-20.

Handzus scored the first and last goals of a four-goal first period for the Flyers. He gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead off a one-timer on a pass from Mike Richards.

"We really asked Michal to take a bigger bite," Hitchcock said.

New York's Mike York tied it on a two-man advantage, but the Flyers took over from there. After the Islanders had the first four power plays, the Flyers had the next seven. Philadelphia scored twice off the power play on 12 attempts.

The Islanders failed to score with a 5-on-3 advantage with the score tied and couldn't convert on seven other attempts.

"The beginning of the end was when we didn't get a shot on the 5-on-3 at 1-1 with your top power-play unit out there," Islanders coach Steve Stirling said. "It was never the same again. It was a momentum-killer, plain and simple."

Penalties continued to be a problem for both teams, with 27 combined penalties for 68 minutes called in the game.

With players shuffling in and out of the lineup and players skating hard to kill off the advantage, Hitchcock worries about the stamina of his team. He's playing all three lines more than he has in the past.

"When you have as many penalties as what's going on right now, it is really hard to keep a rhythm on power play," he said. "It's hard to keep energy and that's why we use three units. If we're going to get seven or eight or nine power plays, it's hard to keep that energy. Players get tired."

With goalie Rick DiPietro out with a concussion, the Islanders turned to backup Garth Snow. Snow couldn't keep up with a Flyers' offense that scored from all angles.

Keith Primeau passed the puck out from behind the net to Patrick Sharp, who scored a power-play goal for a 2-1 lead. Kim Johnsson scored less than 3 minutes later for a 3-1 lead.

Then Handzus scored the nicest goal of the game. He knocked his shot off Snow's leg and the puck bounced back as his body slid across the crease. Handzus reached back with his stick as far as it could go and tapped it in for a 4-1 lead.

"It doesn't matter what the score is on the board. We just have to keep playing the same way," Handzus said.

After the Islanders were called for interference and a holding penalty, Gagne scored his seventh goal, redirected from Eric Desjardins' pass that made it 5-1.

"We started off fast and we kept it up," Hitchcock said.

Gagne has scored a goal in all five games. He said he had no idea he was leading the league in scoring until earlier in the day.

"It's a little surprising, but it's early in the season," Gagne said. "Hopefully that puck will still go in every night. I'm sure it's going to be tough to do it."


Richards finished with two assists. ... C Peter Forsberg added his league-best 10th assist on Gagne's goal. ... The Flyers are 3-1-0 at home. All four games have been sellouts. Four of their next five are on the road. ... Gagne set a career high for consecutive games with a goal. ... Flyers LW Donald Brashear was left bloodied after a third-period fight with Eric Godard.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
NY Islanders (2-3-0)1001
Philadelphia  (3-2-0) «4105
Three Stars
M. Handzus

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
M. Richards

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
K. Johnsson

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

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Scoring Summary
02:02Michal Handzus (2), Slap Shot - Assists: Mike Richards and Kim Johnsson
04:46Power Play - Mike York, Snap Shot - Assists: Alexei Zhitnik and Alexei Yashin
11:07Power Play - Patrick Sharp, Snap Shot - Assists: Keith Primeau and Jeff Carter
14:00Kim Johnsson, Wrist Shot - Unassisted.
16:43Michal Handzus (3), Slap Shot - Assist: Mike Richards
11:53Power Play - Simon Gagne (7), Slap Shot - Assists: Eric Desjardins and Peter Forsberg
Penalty Summary
03:04Carter: Too Many Men on the Ice(bench) - 2 min.
04:27Hatcher: High sticking - 4 min.
07:14Esche: Delay of Game - 2 min.
09:23Niinimaa: Tripping - 2 min.
18:52Niinimaa: Interference - 2 min.
19:43Blake: Hooking - 2 min.
05:55Hunter: Roughing - 2 min.
05:55Brashear: Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.
05:55Godard: Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.
05:55Godard: Game Misconduct - 10 min.
07:58Sopel: Tripping - 2 min.
11:01Martinek: Interference - 2 min.
11:32Asham: Holding - 2 min.
14:29Knuble: High sticking - 2 min.
17:26Desjardins: Holding - 2 min.
18:13Zhitnik: Holding the stick - 2 min.
19:00Niinimaa: Cross Check - 2 min.
19:48Lukowich: Cross Check - 2 min.
00:09Sopel: Tripping - 2 min.
03:54Brashear: Fighting - 5 min.
03:54Godard: Fighting - 5 min.
07:56Johnsson: Holding - 2 min.
10:15Lukowich: Cross Check - 2 min.
13:16Savage: Elbowing - 2 min.
18:45Radivojevic: High sticking - 2 min.
19:22Zhitnik: Interference - 2 min.
New York673 16
Philadelphia161911 46
Attendance - 19543
Game Time - 60:00
Referees - Marc Joannette, Chris Lee
Line Judges - Derek Amell, Brad Kovachik
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