John LeClair had a goal and an assist during the Flyers’ five-goal second period that sent them to a 5-1 victory and stretched their unbeaten streak to 12 games on Saturday night.
LeClair tallied a power-play goal 3:47 into the second to tie it at 1 and start the barrage. Mark Recchi put Philadelphia in front 1:50 later, and Donald Brashear, Simon Gagne and Justin Williams followed to send the collapsing Islanders to their fifth straight loss.
The Flyers are 10-0-2 since a loss at New Jersey on Oct. 30 and posted their first undefeated month with at least five games since going 11-0-2 in December 1996.
“We feel very, very confident, there’s no question,” Flyers forward Jeremy Roenick said. “We don’t get all nervous when a goal is scored against us. We get composed and come right back.”
Philadelphia has opened a five-point lead on New Jersey in the Atlantic Division. The Stanley Cup champions lost for the first time in 14 games on Friday.
“We got a little breathing room from Jersey. Jersey finally lost one,” Recchi said. “We want to keep pushing ahead and see what we can do here.”
The Flyers started their rally with an even-strength goal and then scored twice on their power play that entered as the NHL’s second best. Philadelphia was 2-for-6 for the game, and is 24-for-91 this season.
But it didn’t really matter how many players the Islanders had out there in the second period. They couldn’t slow the Flyers.
“We get down two or three goals and we get behind the 8-ball and the roof caves in,” Islanders forward Jason Blake said.
New York played a solid first period, something they haven’t done recently, and led 1-0 on Janne Niinimaa’s power-play goal with 6:01 left. That snapped the Islanders’ goal-less drought at 135 minutes, 40 seconds—following consecutive shutout losses. It was also their first power-play goal in 27 chances.
“It was a scary feeling coming in here knowing this team has been struggling and knowing this team was going to come with a little bit of bite,” Roenick said.
The Islanders have only two goals in 241:24, spanning four games. In the losing streak, New York has been outscored 18-4.
Once the second period started, the game quickly got away from the Islanders—who allowed five goals on only 10 shots. Rick DiPietro was relieved in goal at the start of the third by Garth Snow, who gave up six goals on 27 shots Friday in a 6-0 loss at Detroit.
The Islanders had a pregame team meeting Friday, but all that did was set the stage for consecutive blowout losses.
“If every guy gives 110 percent we can win hockey games,” Blake said. “And that’s not the case right now.”
New York needed nearly 12 minutes to record its first shot against Philadelphia, but the Islanders weren’t giving much up, either. They got their first three shots during their first power play and scored on their second advantage.
Philadelphia ended the first with an 8-6 shots advantage and quickly turned the scoring column into their favor, as well.
“Right now, we’re sort of hoping and waiting instead of reacting,” Islanders defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. “We’re kind of dreaming about it.”
LeClair scored his first goal in six games by rifling a shot that DiPietro missed with his glove. Recchi then took a pass from Jeremy Roenick and tucked the puck inside the right post.
Brashear, called for three first-period penalties, whistled a wide-open shot from the slot past DiPietro at 14:08 to make it 3-1. Gagne, set up by LeClair, followed during a power play 2:43 later. Williams closed the scoring with 51 seconds left.
“I think the third goal really hurt them,” Recchi said. “If they had any life left, the third goal really hurt them.”
Jeff Hackett made 16 saves to stretch his unbeaten streak to 5-0-1.
Both teams played for the third time in four days. … Islanders RW Eric Godard, who strained his right shoulder against Detroit, was scratched. … It’s New York’s longest losing streak since a six-game slide last seasonfrom Oct. 26-Nov. 7.