Islanders Finally Beat Flyers at Home

Thursday, February 8th 2007, 5:53 am
By: News On 6

Patrick Lalime's long-awaited Chicago debut was a successful one for the Blackhawks and fellow goalie Rick DiPietro made sure the New York Islanders finally had some success at home against the Philadelphia Flyers.

DiPietro made 27 saves in his fifth shutout of the season and the Islanders beat the Flyers 2-0 Wednesday night, New York's first win at home against Philadelphia since last March 4.

The Islanders played a sound defensive game and didn't give the Flyers many chances to score or much hope they could escape Long Island with another win. Viktor Kozlov scored in the first period and Miroslav Satan doubled the lead in the second. That was enough to break the Islanders' four-game, home losing streak to the Flyers _ 14-4-1-1 in their past 20 trips to Long Island.

``They're struggling but they're still a very good team,'' Kozlov said of the Flyers (13-33-7). ``They've got very good players, so you cannot relax.''

Lalime stopped 34 shots in his first game since last April 1, lifting Chicago to a 3-0 win at Vancouver on Wednesday night. Lalime, who had knee surgery last summer and back surgery in early September, was 3-1 with a .930 save percentage during a recent conditioning stint with Norfolk of the AHL.

``I was a little nervous in the beginning but I tried to keep my mind off it,'' Lalime said after getting his first win since last May 13. ``It's been a while since I played a game, but we had some good practices.''

In other NHL games Wednesday night, it was: Buffalo 3, Ottawa 2; Detroit 4, Phoenix 2; and San Jose 3, Anaheim 2.

Midway through the second period in Uniondale, N.Y., Philadelphia's R.J. Umberger got free by the crease and took a perfect pass from Jeff Carter, but DiPietro's quick reflexes denied the redirect.

``I just tried to throw everything I had,'' DiPietro said after his 11th NHL shutout. ``I was just fortunate to get a piece of it.''

DiPietro, 4-0-2 in his past six starts, turned aside some challenging shots but wasn't really tested. The Islanders stretched their point streak to a season-high eight games (5-0-3) and moved within two points of Carolina, the eighth-place team in the Eastern Conference.

Knocking off the Flyers at Nassau Coliseum has turned into as tough a task as any for the Islanders. New York won both matchups in Philadelphia this season _ where the Flyers have won only three times _ but dropped two on home ice, joining Atlanta as the only teams to lose multiple games to them this season.

Simon Gagne posed some threats to DiPietro's shutout, yet couldn't turn pretty passes from Peter Forsberg into goals. He missed the net on several occasions in addition to a hard drive that nestled into DiPietro's midsection.

``You really have to tighten up this time of year when goals are tough to come by,'' DiPietro said. ``If you aren't going to score many, you can't give up many.''

At Vancouver, British Columbia, Adrian Aucoin scored the winning goal after a series of Canucks miscues late in the second period, and Radim Vrbata and Martin Havlat added empty-netters in the final minute to seal Chicago's fourth win in five games.

Blackhawks coach Denis Savard called it the best team effort of the season and Havlat said it was the best defensive performance of the year.

``We wanted to give Patty the win and help as much as we can,'' said Havlat, who played with Lalime in Ottawa. ``We did, but they had a couple of great chances too and he was unbelievable. I'm really happy to see him win after almost a year.''

Sabres 3, Senators 2

Thomas Vanek scored twice, including the winner with 4 minutes left, for Buffalo.

Maxim Afinogenov also scored in helping the Sabres open a season-high six-game homestand with a win and end a four-game losing streak against their Northeast Division rivals. Backup goalie Martin Biron was sharp in making 28 saves.

Peter Schaefer and Dean McCammond scored for Ottawa, which dropped to 8-3-1 in its past 12.

Red Wings 4, Coyotes 2

Henrik Zetterberg scored twice, including a go-ahead goal early in the third period that was the 100th of his career, to help Detroit get the win.

Robert Lang and Pavel Datsyuk also scored for the Red Wings, who have won five straight to pull within a point of Central Division-leading Nashville. Detroit has won 11 in a row at home _ matching its longest winning streak in three years _ and are 20-3-3 overall at Joe Louis Arena.

Owen Nolan and Shane Doan scored for Phoenix, which has lost four of six games.

Sharks 3, Ducks 2

Jonathan Cheechoo had two goals, and Milan Michalek scored on a power play with 3:46 remaining to lift visiting San Jose.

Ryane Clowe assisted on all three Sharks goals, and Joe Thornton had two assists.

Vesa Toskala made 20 saves for the San Jose, which outshot Anaheim 13-4 in the third period.

Teemu Selanne and Shawn Thornton scored for the Ducks.