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Flyers 3, Islanders 2: Bryzgalov Breaks Shutout Record before Late Isles Push

Grabner the Green Gremlin.
Grabner the Green Gremlin.

Nothing more to see here. Move along.

GS | ES | H2H | Shifts | Corsi | Zones | Recaps: NHL | Isles | SBN

The only interesting things about tonight were Peter Laviolette sending Sean Couturier against John Tavares quite a bit (13 minutes at even strength!) -- and seeing him do pretty well -- and the Islanders, I mean MSG, devoting the first intermission to a lengthy Howie Rose interview of Brooklyn arena developer Bruce Ratner.

Oh, Ilya Bryzgalov also broke the Philadelphia Flyers franchise record that John Vanbiesbrouck somehow held for longest shutout streak. The Islanders finally solved Bryzgalov and made it interesting, but we'll get to that below.

Beyond that, Evgeni Nabokov gave up an awful bad-angle goal to Zac Rinaldo to start things off and the Islanders never responded. Or at least didn't respond until two periods later. When the dust settled the Isles had the shot advantage 31-22, but that was mostly thanks to a late third period push.

It was a deflating first goal, but just minutes before that Nabokov had bailed Mark Eaton out after he waited for all Islanders to leave the zone before handing it over generously to a Flyers forechecker.

The Flyers would add another in the first period, Claude Giroux converting while uncovered in the slot after Mark Streit lost a battle in the corner. Before Scott Hartnell made it 3-0 in the second period, Matt Martin got the better of Wayne Simmonds in a fight that Simmonds initiated after Martin made a hard but clean check on Andreas Lilja.

Michael Grabner finally broke Bryzgalov's streak -- and his own 13-game goalless drought -- with 6:30 left in regulation on a pretty redirect of a Dylan Reese shot.

Just 35 seconds later, Mark Streit (who got the second assist on Grabner's goal) made it interesting by weaving down the right wing boards, below the goal line, and delivering a pass to John Tavares above the crease, where Tavares scored his 31st. Both goals happened on Nicklas Grossman and Braydon Coburn's watch, which made for one nightmare of a shift. Bryzgalov's reaction was amusing to, like his universe suddenly got uncomfortably smaller.

Honestly, considering how lifeless most of the game was, it was fun to see the Isles salvage some entertainment and get the crowd buzzing as they pushed for the tying goal. In hockey, the people don't ask for much. You saw Reese's creative side during that comeback push, as he and Streit partnered to provide point pressure.

Alas, it wasn't to be. Three goals was one too many.

Game Highlights

Also of mandatory note: On a hit behind the net, Andrew MacDonald's stick chopped unpopular referee Stephane Auger in the mouth, forcing Auger from the game for much of the third period. No comment.

The Hurricanes beat the Blues 2-0 in Carolina tonight, so the Islanders now stand tied with the Canadiens for 15th in the Eastern Conference. The Habs and Isles meet Saturday night, but Montreal faces Ottawa before then, Friday night. The battle for 15th is on!

Note: To discuss the latest Brooklyn salvo, please visit this thread.