The lucky deflection sent the puck past goalie Dwyane Roloson with 6:06 left to play, and completed a Philadelphia Flyers rally for a 3-2 win Tuesday night. Philadelphia beat the Islanders for the 15th straight time, the NHL’s longest current run by one team over another.
“I was trying to pass it hard to Richie, and it hit the stick and went in,” Gagne said. “I’ll be honest with you. It was a pass.”
Philadelphia improved to 2-17 when trailing after two periods.
The Flyers, who lead the league in penalty minutes, scored their final two goals on power plays. They roared back from a 2-0 deficit. Claude Giroux(notes) tied the game six minutes earlier with a backhander past Roloson.
“It’s a win,” Richards said. “We came back. We didn’t play great, which is disappointing, but we found a way to win. We’ll take the two points, but we have to get better.”
Four of Philadelphia’s five wins over the Islanders this season have been by one goal. The Flyers will go for 16 straight against them on April 1 at Nassau Coliseum, in the final meeting of the season.
The Flyers are 7-3-1 in their last 11 games. On Tuesday, they had to fight through early injuries to James van Riemsdyk(notes), Lukas Krajicek(notes) and Dan Carcillo that caused a disruption to their line rotation. All three returned to the game.
“I was glad to hear they were going to be back. We just weren’t sure when,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “They end up going up, we’re trying to make some offense happen, it’s not working, you’re losing some guys on the bench and you’re wondering if it’s one of those nights.”
It turned out to be one of those nights for the Islanders, who can’t seem to beat Philadelphia.
“I thought we played well,” Roloson said. “We did the things we had to do to win a hockey game. It doesn’t matter who we play—it’s a team. They put their equipment on. They put their jerseys on. They play the game just like we do, so we can’t mentally or physically worry about what they have done in the past.”
Tavares, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, broke a 17-game scoreless drought when he flicked his rebound past Michael Leighton(notes) in the first period. Okposo gave New York a 2-0 lead in the second period with a slap shot.
“Being a goal-scorer and an offensive guy, it’s always nice to contribute,” said Tavares, who scored for the first time since Jan. 16. “To get one finally it’s nice, but it’s time to move forward.”
This late in the season, with the Flyers challenging for playoff position, every point is huge.
“We’re trying to keep it simple, only worry about one game at a time, and not get caught up in a big picture,” Laviolette said. “The Islanders just beat Chicago, they could’ve beat Boston.
“They’re a good hockey team, and can beat anybody. If you look past them because you got Boston or Chicago down the road (the Flyers next two opponents), you’re going to find yourself in a lot of trouble. We did a good job staying in this game here and staying focused.”
NOTES: Flyers captain Richards has eight points (two goals, six assists) in the five games since returning from the Olympic break. … Gagne has five goals and an assist since the break. … The Flyers also owned 14-game win streaks over the Atlanta Thrashers (2005-09) and Los Angeles Kings (1978-82). … Islanders LW Matt Moulson(notes) has his point streak snapped at five games. … New York G Rick DiPietro(notes) was placed on the injured list because of a knee injury.