If there was ever a time to take a wrecking ball to Nassau Coliseum, Wednesday night would have been it.
The old building that remains so much more of a deficiency for its main tenant than a cozy home served up two killer bounces that went against the Islanders in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Daniel Briere fired the game-winner by Rick DiPietro at 2:34 of the overtime, capping a comeback after the Islanders coughed up a 3-1 lead after the first period. The Islanders had just failed on a two-minute power play in the overtime before Briere's winner.
The loss was the third straight for the Islanders (5-10-4), who debuted their new black third jersey. The defeat wasted a promising performance by Kyle Okposo, who had a hand in all three Islanders goals.
The Flyers (12-6-3), who were listless on offense for most of the game, cut it to 3-2 at 5:25 of the second period when Scott Hartnell saw his deflected dump-in ricochet off the boards and right back to his stick, which allowed him to bury a quick wrister over DiPietro.
In the third period, it was a dump-in by Braydon Coburn that took an odd bounce off the corner boards by the Zamboni entrance and fluttered toward DiPietro, who couldn't cover it before Briere popped it into the net to tie it at 3 at 14:18 of the third period.
"Yeah, there were a couple of bad bounces," said DiPietro, who had 29 saves. He then paused and shook his head. "I don't even know what to say."
Not only did the last shot of the game get by DiPietro, but the first shot did as well. Andrej Meszaros fired a rocket by DiPietro's glove just 18 seconds into the game to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. It was the sixth time the Islanders have allowed a goal on the first shot this season.
But the Islanders got that one back quickly, as Okposo scored 19 seconds later to tie it for his long-awaited first goal of the season and, perhaps more importantly, end the team's maddening shutout streak at 142:22 that included losses of 6-0 and 5-0 to the Bruins and Penguins.
Okposo, who was recently a healthy scratch for three games (clearly a motivational move) then gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead on a beautiful tic-tac-toe rush with Josh Bailey and Michael Grabner at 10:26 on the power play. Okposo showed the kind of energy that coach Jack Capuano has been waiting to see, something the team thought it would depend on this season after he missed half of last season with a shoulder injury. Okposo skated with conviction at both ends of the ice.
"I thought Kyle really responded," Capuano said, "and was clearly one of the better players on the ice."
Okposo helped the Islanders take the 3-1 lead at 18:29 of the first when he saucered a backhand pass across the zone, which Grabner blasted by goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who Flyers coach Peter Laviolette promptly left in the tunnel to start the second period.
The rest of the game was for Sergei Bobrovsky, who made three big saves in the second period, including stops on break-ins by Matt Moulson and John Tavares, both of which came after Hartnell cut the Islanders lead to one. Those missed opportunities would come back to haunt the Islanders against the NHL's highest-scoring team.
"We couldn't bury them," Capuano said.