Despite teetering on the edge of elimination from playoff contention, the Islanders earned a small victory last night. Winless against the Flyers since Feb. 12, 2008, they finally ended that losing streak at 15 games with a 6-4 win at Nassau Coliseum.
To add some perspective on the epic skid, consider the following:
Ted Nolan was the coach, Rick DiPietro was the starting goaltender, Brett Favre had not yet announced a single retirement and President George W. Bush still was 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 assisted on Blake Comeau's two first-period goals as the Islanders went ahead 4-0 at 3:06 of the second period. "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 snap.
"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.
Comeau contributed his second straight two-goal game and fourth multi-goal game of the season and helped 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 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 goaltender Brian Boucher again 28 seconds later when Frans Nielsen scored on an odd-man rush for a 3-0 lead.
But after going up 4-0 on Sean Bergenheim's second-period goal, the Islanders shifted into reverse with some sloppy play. But the lead was too much for the Flyers, and the Islanders went ahead 6-2 en route to winning their third game in the last four.
"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."
"I expect a text from John Tortorella when I get back to my office," Gordon joked.
Then he turned serious about his team's character. "There's a right way and a wrong way to play,'' he said, "and I want to make sure we play the right way these last five games."
Notes & quotes: The Islanders signed University of Denver prospect Rhett Rakhshani to a two-year entry-level deal Wednesday. Rakhshani, a fourth-round draft pick in 2006, likely will make his AHL debut with Bridgeport Friday . . . Bruno Gervais (groin) said he "felt great" after skating on his own Thursday morning.