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Islanders 4, Flyers 3 (SO)

The SportsXchange

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Left winger Kyle Okposo and scored the winning goal in the shootout as the New York Islanders completed a dramatic comeback to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 Monday.

Okposo also tied the game with 2:58 left in the third period to force overtime.

Center John Tavares scored in the second period for the Islanders before center Brock Nelson and Okposo scored in the third to bring New York back from a 3-1 deficit. The Islanders, who outshot the Flyers 17-3 in the third period, have recorded eight comeback wins since Dec. 29, a stretch in which they are 9-3.

Tavares and center Frans Nielsen also scored in the shootout for the Islanders (20-24-7), who have won six of their last eight and moved within five points of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Goaltender Anders Nilsson had 26 saves in regulation before recording his first career shootout win with a pair of saves. After Okposo's goal gave the Islanders a 3-2 shootout lead, Nilsson got a piece of center Sean Couturier's shot and deflected it to the right.

Flyers right winger Matt Read continued to thrive against the Islanders by scoring two second period goals before extending the shootout by beating Nilsson on the Flyers' third shot.

Read had six goals in four games this year against the Islanders and 10 goals in 14 career games, his most against any opponent.

Right winger Wayne Simmonds also scored in the second for the Flyers, who were trying to sweep the season series from the Islanders for the fourth time in the last six years.

Goaltender Ray Emery remained unbeaten in regulation against the Islanders by making 40 saves. Emery is 8-0-2 against the Islanders in his career.

The Flyers (25-19-6) have lost two of their last three (1-0-2).

The two teams played a spirited scoreless first period that featured 23 shots, 26 penalty minutes, seven penalties and two fights. Islanders defenseman Matt Carkner and Flyers left winger Jay Rosehill fought 5:54 into the game, when Islanders right winger Matt Martin was also penalized for trying to lure Flyers right winger Steve Downie into a fight.

Less than seven minutes later, Okposo and Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn drew five-minute majors for a brief scuffle that ended when Okposo taking down Coburn.

The Flyers outshot the Islanders 14-9, but New York had the best chances to score on a pair of breakaways by right winger Michael Grabner. His first shot sailed high of the net while his second was gloved by Emery with 12.4 seconds left in the period.

Read finally broke the scoreless tie 1:26 into the second, when he picked up the puck in the Flyers' zone, skated up the left side of the ice and fired the puck past sprawling Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald as well as Nilsson.

The Islanders tied the score exactly eight minutes later, when Tavares put back Okposo's shot. But the tie lasted just 2:04 before Simmonds' backhanded rebound of his own shot snuck past Islanders defenseman Matt Donovan and Nilsson.

Emery preserved the lead by turning back multiple point-blank chances by the Islanders later in the period, including consecutive shots by Tavares from the spot the Islanders' captain scored his first goal. In the final three minutes, center Josh Bailey missed from in front of the net and defenseman Thomas Hickey failed to put back the rebound.

Read added his second goal with 1:44 left in the second when he took a pass from defenseman Mark Streit -- an ex-Islander -- at center ice and once again skated up the left side and eluded multiple Islanders before beating Nilsson.

Nelson pulled the Islanders within a goal 8:16 into the third, when he took a nifty, no-look backward pass from Bailey and fired the puck past Emery.

The Islanders tied it with 2:58 left on Okposo's power play goal, which was set up when Downie -- who was skating without his stick, which had broken on the shift -- was whistled for holding. Okposo initially whiffed on a pass from center Frans Nielsen but recovered and tucked the puck into the left corner of the net.

NOTES: The Islanders have played a matinee home game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in each of the last eight NHL seasons. ... Philadelphia swept the season series from the Islanders just three times in the 32 seasons prior to the 2004-05 lockout, including just once between 1972-73 -- the Islanders' inaugural campaign -- and 1998-99. ... The consecutive games between the Islanders and Flyers marked the first time the two teams met in back-to-back contests since Nov. 26-29, 2005, when the Flyers won in Philadelphia before the Islanders won at Nassau Coliseum. ... The Islanders scratched D Travis Hamonic, D Radek Martinek and C Peter Regin. Hamonic has missed the last four games with concussion symptoms. ... Islanders D Lubomir Visnovsky practiced Sunday for the first time since suffering a concussion on Oct. 19. ... The Flyers had a trio of healthy scratches: D Hal Gill, D Erik Gustafsson and C Chris Vandevelde. ... D Marc-Andre Bourdon, who has not played since suffering the third concussion of his career on Nov. 30, 2012, practiced with the Flyers on Sunday.
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