Third-period rally leads Flyers over Islanders

Wayne Simmonds, a part of the Mike Richards trade, has 16 goals this season. Richards has six.
Wayne Simmonds, a part of the Mike Richards trade, has 16 goals this season. Richards has six. (YONG KIM / Staff)
Posted: January 20, 2014

The Flyers continued their comeback ways on Saturday night and tied a team record in the process.

Michael Raffl's goal from close range on a back pass from Claude Giroux with 4 minutes, 15 seconds left provided the game-winner in a 6-4 win over the New York Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center. Matt Read's empty-netter ended the scoring.

Giroux had two spectacular third-period assists.

"I don't know how he saw me, but he put it right on my blade," Raffl said.

The Flyers entered the third period trailing by 4-3, but they tied the score on Jake Voracek's one-timer from the right circle off a backhand feed from Giroux with 12:46 to play.

This was the ninth time this season the Flyers have won a game when trailing in the third period. That ties a franchise record for third-period comebacks, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Flyers also had nine such comebacks in 1996-97.

"I think we woke up in the third period," Giroux said.

On the day that Flyers goalie Steve Mason signed a three-year $12.3 million extension, he was pulled from the game with six minutes left in the second period after the Islanders took a 4-3 lead. This was a night where Mason wasn't helped by the Flyers' defensive play.

Coach Craig Berube wasn't punishing or faulting Mason by pulling him.

"I did it to wake the team up," Berube said.

It certainly worked, but despite the comeback effort, the Flyers coach was still critical of his team.

"We obviously played a good third period and came out, got the puck down deep, and worked from down low, but the first two periods were inexcusable," Berube said.

The Islanders scored the game's first two goals. John Tavares opened the scoring with his 22d goal and Cal Clutterbuck added a shorthanded score.

Shortly after, the Flyers received a gift goal by defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who beat Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin with a wrist shot from a difficult left-circle angle. Meszaros seemed as surprised as anybody.

"I just tried to shoot it at the net," Meszaros said. "It went in, and I got kind of a lucky bounce."

Later in the period, Mason stoned Clutterbuck from the slot after a Flyer giveaway.

The Flyers tied it on Mezaros' second goal of the first period. Taking a pass from Scott Hartnell inside the blue line, he faked a shot, bought himself more room, and then scored from the left circle for his fourth goal of the season and third in the last two games.

Unlike his first goal, Meszaros wasn't at an extreme angle when he shot.

"Their guy went down, so I just went around him and just picked a corner," Meszaros said. "It was kind of open high there, so that's where I shot."

In his last six games, Meszaros has three goals and six assists.

Adam Hall gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead when he tipped in Mark Streit's shot from inside the blue line, but the Islanders came back with two second-period goals, the first by Brock Nelson, on a tip.

Then with six minutes left in the second period, Brian Strait's slap shot gave the Islanders a 4-3 lead, and Mason exited in favor of Ray Emery. The Flyers then responded to their coach's wake-up call.


mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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