NHL Game Summary - NY Islanders at Philadelphia
(Thursday, March 25th)
Final Score: NY Islanders 4, Philadelphia 2
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Adrian Aucoin scored two goals and rookie goaltender Wade Dubielewicz made 14 saves in his first NHL game to lead the New York Islanders to a 4-2 victory over Jeremy Roenick and the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wachovia Center.
Dubielewicz was called into action after Garth Snow left with a groin injury and turned aside all 14 shots he faced through two periods for the Islanders, who won their fourth straight game. Starter Rick DiPietro, on the heels of two straight shutouts, sat out because of the flu. Snow, though, left after the first period and allowed two goals on six shots.
"Before the (second) period started, I tried to get focused," said Dubielewicz. "By the time I was out there, the game was going and it seemed to just go by really quick."
Mark Parrish and Janne Niinimaa each added a goal for New York, which has captured six of its last seven and is now within four points of Montreal for the seventh playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders, who currently hold the last playoff position, also increased their lead over idle Buffalo to eight points.
John LeClair and Michael Handzus netted the goals for the Flyers, who dropped to 4-2-2 in their last eight and fell three points behind the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning. Robert Esche let in four goals on just 15 shots in the losing effort. Mark Recchi assisted on both goals for Philly.
Roenick returned to the lineup after missing 19 games with a shattered jaw and a concussion. He was struck in the face by a slap shot on February 12 versus the New York Rangers.
"It was difficult - (I) definitely had to think a lot more," said Roenick of his return to the ice. "My wind was a little short, but I tried to take short shifts."
The Flyers took the lead twice in the opening period, but both times Aucoin answered shortly after as the teams were knotted at two apiece after 20 minutes of play.
LeClair opened the scoring at the four-minute mark. With the Flyers pressing the their offensive zone, he picked up the puck behind the net and moved to the right of the crease before beating Snow low to the far side for his 23rd goal of the season.
About four and a half minutes later, New York tied it up on a rocket off the stick of Aucoin. Michael Peca gained the blue line and cut across towards the top of the right circle before leaving the puck for Aucoin, who wound up and fired a one-timer, with a screen in the slot, past Esche at 8:27.
"When I try to stay up in the play more, it helps out the other guys," Aucoin said.
Midway through the session, the Flyers grabbed a 2-1 edge when Handzus put home his 18th marker. Recchi streaked down the left-wing side and sent a pass that was intended for LeClair at the far post, but Snow got his pad on it. However, the puck went straight to Handzus, who lifted a backhander into the back of the cage.
A mental mistake by Esche led to the visitors' second goal. Aucoin fired the puck toward the net from the red line with the intention of an Islanders line change. But the disc skipped along the ice and went underneath the unprepared pads of Esche. The unassisted tally, Aucoin's ninth of the season and second of the period, created a 2-2 tie with 7:49 to go before the end of the first frame.
"Sometimes it is luck," Aucoin said of his second goal. "We know that Esche is a good goaltender, but (that goal) took some momentum away from them."
The only goal of the second period staked the Isles to a one-goal lead. Parrish skated down the slot on a partial breakaway and fired a wrister through the five hole at 6:02.
Philadelphia could not do much offensively throughout the remainder of the frame, but gained a great opportunity to notch the equalizer early in the third.
Just eight seconds after Kenny Jonsson was whistled for tripping, Aucoin drew a cross-checking minor that gave the Flyers a 1:52 two-man advantage. But it was to no avail, as Dubielewicz was up to the task and turned away the few good shots that came his way.
The Islanders took the momentum they gained from the big penalty kill and turned it into a power-play goal that gave them some breathing room. With Claude Lapointe off for holding, Niinimaa loaded up from the middle of the blue line and ripped a slap shot that beat Esche.
Dubielewicz and the New York defense put the clamps on the rest of the way and held on for the two-goal victory.
New York is now 3-3-1-1 in its last eight road games...Philadelphia suffered just its second loss in its last nine at home (6-2-1)...Philly captain Keith Primeau, who also suffered a concussion against the Rangers on February 12, did not play in the contest, but could return on Saturday against the Rangers...The Flyers are 3-2 against the Isles this season and the teams will finish the regular season together with a matchup on Long Island on April 4... Roman Hamrlik hit in the ankle by a slapshot and left the game.
03/26 00:20:19 ET