Despite teetering on the edge of elimination, the Islanders earned a small victory last night. Winless against the Flyers since February 12, 2008, the Islanders finally terminated a 15-game losing streak with a 6-4 win at Nassau Coliseum.
To add some perspective on the epic skid, consider the following:
Ted Nolan was the head coach, Rick DiPietro was the starting goaltender, Brett Favre had not yet announced a single retirement and President George W. Bush was still in office the last time the Islanders won a game against Philadelphia before last night’s slump-busting victory.
Really. That long.
“It’s just nice not to talk about it anymore after losing to someone for so long,” said rookie John Tavares, who chipped in with two assists. “It’s nice to move on from it and build maybe our own streak. “
Although the losing streak pre-dated many players’ tenure with the team as well as coach Scott Gordon’s, it was a streak they were relieved to finally snap, regardless.
“Let’s start talking about the new streak, 1-0. Do you know how long it’s been since they’ve beat us,” Gordon joked.
Scorching-hot Blake Comeau contributed his second straight two-goal game and fourth multi-goal game of the season to lead the team and help salvage some pride with the season winding down.
“I’m shooting the puck more. That’s something I want to continue to do and bounces are going my way so hopefully it stays that way,” Comeau said.
Comeau picked up his first goal of the game when his point shot glanced off Danny Briere’s stick at 2:11 and his second after banking one in off the back of Flyers’ defenseman Lucas Krajicek’s skate at 7:17.
The Islanders tagged journeyman goaltender Brian Boucher again only 28 seconds later, when Frans Nielsen scored on an odd-man rush for a 3-0 lead.
After building a comfortable first-period lead with a strong start, the Islanders again shifted into reverse with some sloppy play over the next forty minutes. But even after giving up three goals in the third period, the Islanders outlasted the Flyers for their third win in four games.
“It’s a nice way to finish off the year with these guys,” Tavares said. “We know that they were struggling and going for the playoffs. It’s nice to throw some stuff over there and disrupt their flow.”
In the battle for the remaining playoff spots, last night had serious implications. Along with the Flyers, Boston and Atlanta also lost as well, leaving an opening for the Rangers.
“I expect a text from John Tortorella when I get back to my office,” Gordon joked, before turning serious about his team’s character. “There’s a right way and a wrong way to play and I want to make sure we play the right way these last five games.”
Notes and Quotes: The Islanders signed University of Denver prospect Rhett Rakhshani to a two-year entry-level deal Wednesday. Rakhshani, a 4th-round draft pick in 2006, will likely make his AHL debut with Bridgeport tonight. Bruno Gervais (groin) said he “felt great” after skating on his own yesterday morning, but will practice with the team before making his return. Dustin Kohn (concussion) has yet to resume physical activity.