PHILADELPHIA – Coach Barry Trotz prophesized the Islanders taking a lead again and told his players it was their job to change the outcome.
So, this time the Islanders kept pressuring and dominating the five-on-five play after taking a two-goal lead. They scored three more in the third period for a 6-1 win over the struggling Flyers on Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Center to open a three-game road trip and a five-game stretch against Metropolitan Division opponents.
On Wednesday, the Islanders (4-4-1) blew a two-goal lead in the third period and lost, 3-2, in overtime to the Panthers at Barclays Center.
“We came into the rink on Friday and watched film and looked at what went wrong and things we could do differently,” said center Brock Nelson, who scored two goals to give him a team-high five. “Barry talked about how we were going to be in that spot again today and he was right. We wanted to come out and fix that and get that mindset when you have a lead, home or road, we’ve got to close out the game and get the two points.”
Captain Anders Lee added a goal and three assists and Robin Lehner made 22 saves in his fourth straight start for the Islanders, who scored five of their goals at even strength while going 1 for 3 on the power play.
Thomas Greiss is expected to start on Sunday at Carolina.
“We wanted to set the tone,” Lee said. “We would have rather it happened on Wednesday but I think it was a great response. It’s almost nice we had the same situation and in exactly the next game because Barry talked about it in our meeting.”
Michal Neuvirth, making his first start after suffering a lower-body injury in preseason, made 16 saves for the Flyers (4-7-0), who have lost three straight and four of their last five and looked completely disinterested by the third period.
Trotz reunited left wing Anthony Beauvillier with center Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle for the first time this season after the trio provided a very productive second line last season and it resulted in the 21-year-old getting his first goal — his first point — of the season.
“It feels good to get a goal,” said Beauvillier, who was open in the slot to deposit Eberle’s feed after Barzal started the play with a takeaway for a 2-0 lead at 13:20 of the first period. “But, overall, I think everyone had a great game, especially Nelly’s line.”
“I was really happy for Beau,” Trotz added. “When you don’t have your confidence or you don’t trust your game and it’s not happening for you, to finally get a goal (is good). Older guys will understand if you just play the right way, it will come. A younger guy really looks at the numbers and when the numbers aren’t there, they try too hard to manufacture something that’s really not there.”
The Islanders got goals from three of their four lines, with third-liner Leo Komarov deflecting defenseman Adam Pelech’s point shot for a 1-0 lead at 11:38 of the first period and Nelson extending the lead to 3-0 at 4:58 of the second period.
Jori Lehtera cut that to 3-1 at 6:28 of the second period off a rare Islanders’ defensive miscue on Saturday but Pelech, Nelson and Lee all scored in the third period.