The Islanders easily could have been frustrated by Flyers goaltender Steve Mason, who made stop after stop Monday night.
Frustration can lead to missed assignments, to inattention. But the Isles would have none of that. Mason stopped all 46 shots through regulation and overtime to steal a point, but the Islanders beat him twice in the shootout for a 1-0 victory, their ninth win in their last 10 games and fifth in five shootouts this season.
Coming off back-to-back victories over the Penguins this past weekend, the Islanders needed a full effort. They ran the Flyers skaters ragged, and only Mason's play stood between the Islanders and a regulation win.
"At the end of the night, I think we deserved the two points," said Jaroslav Halak, who made 21 saves for his third shutout in his last five starts and has won seven straight starts. "[Mason] stood on his head tonight and he stole a point. But we did a lot of good things. We kept playing our way."
And kept firing pucks on net. The only aspect of the Islanders' game that was below par was their power play, on which they mustered only two shots during three advantages. But there were long blocks of time, especially in the third period, when the Islanders cycled the Flyers ragged in Philadelphia's zone, hunting for rebounds and bouncing pucks that were few and far between.
"Cappy likes it when we shoot pucks from all over, just looking for a bounce or something off a scrum," Brock Nelson said of coach Jack Capuano. "We could've gotten frustrated but we kept coming, which is a good sign."
Nelson had one of the best chances during the 65 minutes, racing around former Islander Mark Streit to get off a wrist shot late in the second. Mason got some of it and the goalpost got the rest.
There were numerous odd-man rushes, a few mad scrambles on the soft ice and a few overhandled plays. But there were only a couple of breakdowns and Halak was there, stopping Sean Couturier on a shorthanded breakaway in the first period and snaring a try by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare early in the second.
It was all the more impressive given that two of the Islanders' regular defensemen, Calvin de Haan and Thomas Hickey, sat out with illnesses. Brian Strait, a healthy scratch in nine of the previous 10 games, and Matt Donovan, a healthy scratch in all 20 previous games this season, stepped in and the team didn't miss a beat.
"We've got guys who are battling every day in practice and they're good players, good people," Capuano said. "They played extremely well."
Once in the shootout, the script reverted from Mason being a stone wall to the Islanders displaying their skill. Kyle Okposo's opening try rang off the post, but Frans Nielsen scored in round two, his 37th career shootout goal in 65 attempts.
After Halak made a highlight-reel arm save on Claude Giroux, John Tavares salted away the Islanders' 15th win of the season with a flurry of moves in close and a backhand over Mason.
"It's a big win, especially to validate the couple wins over the weekend," said Okposo, who had eight shots on Mason. "We didn't want to have those wins, then come out and lay an egg."