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Lecavalier hat trick leads Flyers past Islanders

The SportsXchange

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Philadelphia Flyers entered Nassau Coliseum on Saturday night averaging just 1.44 goals per game in their first nine games.

They leave with a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders and their first winning streak of the season. It was the first time in a game the Flyers scored more than two goals in a game.

"I think overall tonight it was a great confidence booster for everybody. ... It feels good to score more than two goals," said Flyers forward Vinny Lecavalier, who scored three goals in the win. "To get a little more offense off us playing well defensively paid off tonight and we have to keep going in that direction."

After scoring two goals in the first period, Lecavalier netted his third at 8:13 of the third period.

He started the sequence by stealing the puck from Thomas Hickey at the Islanders blue line and then finished it by putting it into the empty net after Kevin Poulin came out of his crease to challenge a potential shot by Claude Giroux, who sent a no-look backhand pass in front to Lecavalier for his second assist of the game.

"It was probably the hardest he's worked since he's been a Flyer," Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. "The play where he dove in their zone and swiped the puck and made it so their defensive guy couldn't get it, not many guys can do that. I said right away that's a pretty special player to do that."

The Flyers were also solid on special teams, going 1-for-3 on the power play and keeping the league's best power play scoreless in three opportunities.

"It was huge. ... (Our) guys were sacrificing at key opportunities for the Islanders there," said Flyers goaltender Steve Mason, who made 26 saves. "That's what we need to win hockey games."

After falling behind 2-0 on the Flyers first two shots, Kyle Okposo pulled the Islanders a goal back at 10:16 of the first period, beating Mason with a slap shot from the point for his fourth goal of the year.

Lecavalier batted in his own rebound with 1:47 left in the first period to put the Flyers in front 3-1 before Frans Nielsen scored his team-leading seventh goal of the year at 11:30 of the second period with a short-handed tally.

However, Lecavalier and Matt Read (empty net) scored in the third period as the Flyers beat the Rangers and Islanders in consecutive games.

"You got to battle for one another. That's the frustrating part for me," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We need all 20 guys going, and tonight we didn't (have that)."

"It's just sloppy in our own end," Islanders forward John Tavares said. "We haven't made it easy on our goaltenders. It's tough to ask them to give us 30-plus saves a night. We have to bare down away from the puck, rather than worry about things with the puck."

NOTES: Flyers D Mark Streit made his return to Long Island after playing five years for the Islanders and serving as the captain from 2011-13. He had two assists. "I tried to just stay focused and play the game, but it's tough," Streit said after the game. "The first game back is always special. I'm just happy we got the win and I played a pretty good game."... Flyers LW Scott Hartnell returned to the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury. ... Islanders LW Michael Grabner returned to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Nathan Gerbe of the Carolina Hurricanes last Saturday. ... The Islanders scratched RW Colin McDonald, C Brock Nelson and D Brian Strait. ... The Flyers scratched RW Adam Hall, D Andrej Meszaros and D Hal Gill. ... Islanders C John Tavares assisted on a Kyle Okposo goal in the first period to extend his scoring streak to 10 games. His career-high is 12 games in 2011-12. ... Islanders C Frans Nielsen's short-handed goal in the second period extended his goal-scoring streak to four straight games.
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