This time, the New York Islanders showed up for the third period.
After coughing up a one-goal third-period lead and regulation loss in Philadelphia Saturday night, the Isles turned the tables Monday afternoon. They erased a 3-1 second-intermission deficit and, though their victory came via shootout rather than in regulation, their third-period dominance was an inversion of Saturday's disappearing act.
The proverbial "secondary scoring" helped get the Isles back in the game, but it was the Islanders' top line that really poured it on as they outshot the Flyers 17-3 in the third period (43-29 overall).
Just like Saturday, the game got going with some early fights because Flyers. Matt Carkner took Eric Boulton's spot as Jay Rosehill's dance partner in the first six minutes, and Kyle Okposo and Braydon Coburn had a hockey player fight midway through the period after they came to blows, and Coburn's slash.
But unlike Saturday, the Islanders returned to form by conceding the game's first goal -- a 2-0 lead in Saturday's game did them no good -- lazily playing Matt Read's shorthanded attempt, which he neatly backhanded off the far post past Anders Nilsson's glove.
John Tavares tied it at 1-1 on the power play, getting a good bounce to him on the back door after he had worked the puck to the slot for Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo.
Frustratingly, the 1-1 tie barely lasted two minutes. A bad bounce (off the boards? the linesman?) on Matt Donovan's breakout pass had both Michael Grabner and Brock Nelson flying the zone without the puck. That led to an immediate counterattack by the Flyers, Scott Hartnell making a nice pass across the slot to Wayne Simmonds, who needed two whacks to get it over Anders Nilsson for a 2-1 Flyers lead.
For the second time in the game, Matt Read beat Nilsson with a high shot in tight when he got around Andrew MacDonald to give the Flyers an insurance goal with under two minutes left in the second period. The Isles would go into the third period trailing ... which is apparently right where they want their opponents these days.
The second power play unit got the Isles back on the board a few seconds after the power play expired when Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson and Cal Clutterbuck combined for good forecheck work behind the Flyers net. Bailey emerged with the puck, drawing the Flyers defense to his side before slipping a nice feed through the crease to Nelson, who tapped in.
The rest of the dominant third period belonged to the Islanders' top line, including a shift that lasted two minutes with them hemming the Flyers in. That shift ultimately earned a power play when an exhausted Steve Downie lost his stick and held Calvin de Haan along the boards. (Downie's mid-shift fit about the call was hilarious and very very Downie.)
The Isles took a timeout to rest that line, and though the Flyers earned one clear the big guns eventually set up again. Andrew MacDonald avoided firing a shot into a diving Flyer, instead fed Frans Nielsen on the right wing, who sent it diagonally to Kyle Okposo on the doorstep. Okposo needed the help of his skate to stop it, but got enough stick on it to cash in the tying goal.
Next Up: At the Garden
Alas, though the two points were essential, the shootout meant they didn't add a regulation win to their column, and they gained only one point on the Flyers, who are near the top of the Metropolitan Division's "not Pittsburgh" standings. They have a shot at the other team in that region when they visit Madison Square Garden Tuesday night.