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Isles edge Flyers to extend their road success

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Islanders are quite the road warriors.

New York improved to 10-4-1 away from home by pulling out a 4-3 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Josh Bailey scored the decisive goal, and Brad Boyes also scored on Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in the four-round tiebreaker. Colin McDonald had two third-period goals for the Islanders, who overcame a 2-0 deficit to win their fourth straight road game and remain in the mix for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

"We're fighting for the playoffs, obviously," Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov said. "We're right there. Every point, not just two, is important for us, especially against a team like that. They're a good team. Regardless of what the stats are showing, they're a good team. There's a lot of character on that team. And we knew that it wasn't going to be easy."

The Islanders, who haven't reached the postseason since 2007, pulled into a tie with the New York Rangers for eighth place. The Islanders improved to 16-15-3, including 10-4-1 on the road, while the Rangers fell to 16-14-3 with a 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

"We just found a way to win a game, and it's just a good group of guys here, a lot of character," McDonald said. "Every game is huge for us, every game's a playoff game, and we're desperate for points, desperate for wins.

"It's just a good victory for us. I couldn't be happier for the guys."

Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell scored twice, including the tying goal in the final minute of regulation, and Mike Knuble added a goal for the Flyers, who are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in six years. The Flyers (13-17-3) trail the Islanders and Rangers by six points.

"You get a 2-0 lead, and it seems like we freeze and stop moving," Hartnell said. "That's when their skill kicks in, when you're not moving and you're not closing on checks and you're not finishing on checks. Boom, boom, boom, and you're down. We are lucky to get a point, obviously. We just need to bear down when we're up, that's all."

Nabokov stopped Matt Read's slap shot to start the shootout, and Frans Nielsen then lifted one over the net.

Claude Giroux made a dazzling move to beat a sprawling Nabokov, but Boyes scored for the Islanders.

After Nabokov stoned Brayden Schenn, and Bryzgalov denied John Tavares, Wayne Simmonds missed for the Flyers. Bailey then ended it to give the Islanders a rare win over the Flyers. New York was 2-14 in its previous 16 games in Philadelphia and had won just four of the previous 33 meetings.

"They were crushing the net, but we weathered the storm and then we basically did it back to them," Nabokov said. "And in the end, we got rewarded with the goal."

With their goalie pulled and a power play making it 6-on-4, the Flyers got the tying goal when Hartnell scored with 29.8 seconds left. Nabokov couldn't control the puck during a wild scramble in front of the net, and Hartnell finally whacked it in.

McDonald had four goals in 30 games before his third-period outburst. He lifted a shot from the slot past Bryzgalov to tie it at 2 midway through the period. The Isles played tic-tac-toe with the puck. Michael Grabner dropped a pass down low to Keith Aucoin, who quickly sent it to McDonald.

A lucky bounce helped McDonald get the next one. His shot hit off the inside of Flyers defenseman Bruno Gervais' leg and skipped past Bryzgalov.

The Islanders cut it to 2-1 with a minute left in the second on Tavares' 21st goal. Tavares flipped what seemed to be a harmless backhander toward the net. The puck hit off two Flyers defensemen -- Luke Schenn and Erik Gustafsson -- and deflected into the net.

Hartnell scored a power-play goal less than five minutes in to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. Hartnell, who missed 16 games with a broken foot, led the team with a career-best 37 goals last year. Later in the first period, Hartnell dropped the gloves and took on McDonald.

Knuble made it 2-0 late in the first with a nifty goal off a two-on-one breakaway with Giroux. Knuble got a centering pass from Giroux, went right to left and slipped a backhander into the net. The veteran forward had been a healthy scratch the previous eight games.

"This team and organization is accustomed to being in a different place that we're not in right now," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.

NOTES: Bryzgalov and Nabokov are the only goalies who've accounted for all of their team wins. ... Knuble hadn't played in 10 of the prior 11 games. ... The Flyers led after the first period for just the 10th time this season. ... Ten of New York's remaining 15 games are on the road. That's a good thing for the Islanders because they are 6-11-2 at home, including a 7-0 loss to Philadelphia on Feb. 18.
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