Islanders players celebrate after winning an NHL game against the Flyers...

Islanders players celebrate after winning an NHL game against the Flyers on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Credit: AP/Matt Slocum

PHILADELPHIA —The first 65 minutes weren’t the cleanest for the Islanders and the subsequent nine-round shootout could go down as one of the worst in NHL history.

But all that matters to the Islanders was coming away with a 4-3 shootout win on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center to sweep the home-and-home series and finally get back to NHL .500 after more than two months.

"The confidence comes from playing well," said coach Barry Trotz, whose team has won five of six and earned points in seven of their last eight. "Finding ways to win. There’s trust starting to grow, which is key. We’re sitting at .500. It’s a starting point. We’ve got our nose just at the water level. Now let’s see if we can get ourselves out of the pool and keep climbing up the ladder."

Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves for the last-place Islanders (13-13-6), who are within one point of the seventh-place Flyers (13-18-8), in an 0-6-3 skid. Oliver Wahlstrom, shooting last, scored the only goal in the unimpressive shootout against Carter Hart (28 saves), with many tries not even getting on net. Varlamov was particularly aggressive in cutting down shooting angles.

The Islanders had beaten the Flyers, 4-1, on Monday night at UBS Arena to end a 5-1-1 homestand as the teams play three times in nine days. The Islanders open another seven-game homestand Friday night against the Coyotes.

"It is [important]," Casey Cizikas said of reaching NHL .500. "Especially with this homestand coming up. It’s really big. It puts us in a good position right now to keep climbing up the standings."

Cizikas, with his second goal in two games after going 43 straight without one, tied it at 3 at 15:32 as he took defenseman Scott Mayfield’s feed to the crease.

"They’ve been working really hard," Josh Bailey said of Cizikas’ identity-setting fourth line with Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin. "They bring it every night even if they’re not on the scoresheet to make something happen out there. So it’s great to see them get rewarded and it gives us a boost offensively."

The Islanders escaped a rocky second period tied at 2 after the Flyers responded just 26 seconds after Bailey made it 2-1 at 13:28 at the crease on Anthony Beauvillier’s feed from the left. But Varlamov misplayed the puck behind his net under pressure from Oskar Lindblom and Travis Konecny tied it from the low slot.

The Flyers held momentum and took a 3-2 lead at 4:05 of the third period when Claude Giroux got past defenseman Zdeno Chara and a diving Mayfield.

But Trotz said the Islanders became "really engaged" after Zack MacEwen’s high hit on Mayfield and subsequent fight with Chara at 8:32 of the third period.

"We thought it was a little bit at the head," Trotz said. "Big Z jumped in there and our bench perked up after that and our identity line came through."

The Islanders had taken a 1-0 lead at 2:08 of the first period on defenseman Robin Salo’s first career goal, a hard slap from high in the slot.

"It’s a really good feeling," said Salo, who nearly had the milestone goal in the second period on Monday on a shot from the blue-line before Cizikas was credited with the deflection. "An even better feeling that we won the game."

James van Riemsdyk’s power play goal tied it at 1 at 14:39 of the first period with Salo in the penalty box.

The Islanders hadn’t been at NHL .500 since a 4-1 road loss to the Lightning on Nov. 15 dropped them to 5-5-2.

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