National Hockey League
- Barclays Center PUCK DROP -
Philadelphia Flyers
ML: PHI +165
NY Islanders Islanders
ML: NYI -183
Goalie Performance
Steve Mason
#35 G Steve Mason
Jaroslav Halak
#41 G Jaroslav Halak
0.943 SV% 33 SV
0.944 SV% 17 SV
Scoring Leaders
Claude Giroux
#28 C Claude Giroux Goals Assists 1 0
Jakub Voracek
#93 RW Jakub Voracek Goals Assists 0 1
Shayne Gostisbehere
#53 D Shayne Gostisbehere Goals Assists 0 1
Casey Cizikas
#53 C Casey Cizikas Goals Assists 1 0
Frans Nielsen
#51 C Frans Nielsen Goals Assists 1 0
Kyle Okposo
#21 RW Kyle Okposo Goals Assists 1 0

NEW YORK -- History suggests the New York Islanders needed to win Wednesday night in order to improve their chances of reaching the playoffs in the spring. They responded by winning the type of high-intensity game usually seen in April, May and June, not the night before Thanksgiving.

Right winger Kyle Okposo scored the tie-breaking goal early in the second period Wednesday night as the Islanders snapped a two-game losing streak with a feisty 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at Barclays Center.

Okposo's goal jump-started a fight-filled second period between the longtime division rivals that included two fights, six penalties and even a roaring ovation from the crowd of 13,027 when a clip from The Karate Kid aired before cameras captured Long Island actor Ralph Macchio and star of the movie sitting rink-side and wearing a T-shirt that read STANLEY CUP.

"Those games right there, they're fun when they get testy like that," said Islanders center Casey Cizikas, whose short-handed goal in the final minute of the first period tied the score at 1-1. When they get physical like that, that's what makes the game of hockey so much fun. I think we thrived off of that tonight.

The victory vaulted the Islanders (11-8-3) into a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, albeit by the slimmest of margins. New York is in a three-way tie with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning for the two wild card spots, but the Islanders and Red Wings are technically ahead of the Lightning because they've each played one fewer game than Tampa Bay.

In the last six full NHL seasons, only seven Eastern Conference teams have reached the playoffs after being in ninth place or lower on Thanksgiving. But New York coach Jack Capuano said he didn't think it was essential for the Islanders to climb into the top eight before diving into their turkey.

"I don't believe in that," Capuano said. "There's a lot of teams that should be better or should be worse. Numbers are numbers. I believe it averages itself out at the end. Eleven wins or eight wins, everybody is still in the race, in my eyes."

Capuano acknowledged the physical style of play Wednesday could help New York, which is 5-6-2 in its last 13 games, establish some momentum in what is shaping up to be a tightly contested playoff race.

"We talked about it before the game: You step up," Capuano said. "Guys really stepped their game up and played with a little bit more desperation and desire in their game."

Defenseman Nick Leddy set the tone for the Islanders by getting into the first fight of his career just 21 seconds after Okposo's goal at 5:14. Leddy was pursued by Flyers right winger Claude Giroux, who apparently wanted retribution after Leddy was whistled for boarding Philadelphia left winger Michael Raffl late in the first.

Giroux grabbed Leddy and skated as he held him for about 30 feet before Leddy dropped the gloves. Both players drew five minute majors.

"Nick (is) a guy that doesn't do that often," Capuano said. "And Nick did what he had to do tonight."

The teams engaged in pushing and shoving following the next whistle.

With 7:20 left in the period, a pair of enforcers Islanders left winger Matt Martin and Flyers right winger Wayne Simmonds went at it in an extended brawl that included Martin getting an extra two minutes for ditching his helmet.

"It's always been like this against those guys," Islanders center and captain John Tavares said.

There were no fisticuffs in the third period, when the Islanders limited the Flyers to just four shots on goal before center Frans Nielsen iced New York's second win in as many games against Metropolitan Division rivals in its new home by scoring an empty netter with 1:09 remaining.

"A game like that gets anybody going," Cizikas said. "To come away with two points the way we played tonight we played a good, hard 60 minutes. That's going only lead to good things."

Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak recorded 17 saves.

Giroux scored a power play goal 3:59 into the first for the Flyers (7-10-5), who scored two goals or fewer for the 15th time this season.

"It's the same story every game, we need to find a way to be consistent the whole game," Giroux said. "We need to find a way to get that momentum back."

Goaltender Steve Mason made 33 saves.

"For the goaltender, there's no room for error right now," Mason said. "Just go out and focus on stopping the puck. You just hope that the goals will come."

NOTES: The Islanders and Flyers met for the seventh time on Thanksgiving Eve. ... The Islanders' first Thanksgiving Eve game at Barclays Center marked the 17th time they've played at home on Thanksgiving Eve in the last 19 non-lockout seasons. ... The Islanders scratched LW Taylor Beck and D Adam Pelech. ... The Flyers scratched RW Sam Gagner (upper body) as well as C Vincent Lecavalier and D Evgeny Medvedev. ... Gagner was replaced on the active roster by RW Colin McDonald, who made his season debut a day after he was promoted from Lehigh Valley of the AHL. McDonald played in 133 games for the Islanders over the previous three seasons.
Top Game Performances
Philadelphia   NY Islanders
Claude Giroux 1 Points Casey Cizikas 1
Claude Giroux 1 Goals Casey Cizikas 1
Shayne Gostisbehere 1 Assists Cal Clutterbuck 1
Claude Giroux 1 Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals Casey Cizikas 1
Steve Mason .943 Save Percentage Jaroslav Halak .944
Steve Mason 33 Saves Jaroslav Halak 17
Team Stats Summary
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Philadelphia 18 1 1-5 2-2 24 30
NY Islanders 36 3 0-2 4-5 20 19
Upcoming Games
  • NY Islanders will play their next game on the road against Florida. The Islanders have a W/L % of .500 after a win and .500 after a loss.
  • Philadelphia will play their next game at home against Nashville. The Flyers have a W/L % of .286 after a win and .333 after a loss.