Wayne Simmonds had a goal and an assist in the Flyers' 5-2 win over the Islanders on Saturday. (USA Today Images)
They talked about the importance of making it right with their fans during a three-game homestand and the Flyers came through.
Their 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders completed a three-game sweep and improved their home ice record to 6-7-0. The victory put the Flyers at .500 on the season: 10-10-2 with 22 points after a 1-7 start.
Craig Berube’s team had to hang on for dear life after almost blowing a three-goal lead. At one point in the third period, the Flyers were being outshot, 10-4.
Jakub Voracek’s hustle to keep a puck alive resulted in a Brayden Schenn goal late to give the Flyers some breathing room at 4-2.
After a fairly competitive opening period, the Flyers blitzed the Isles for three goals in the opening four minutes of the second period to grab the game by the throat and chase starting goalie Kevin Poulin.
Sean Couturier’s line, which had two goals against Buffalo, struck first with Matt Read’s third goal in two games just 46 ticks into the period.
Not even a minute later, Wayne Simmonds blasted one off the rush from the right circle and then Claude Giroux got a power-play goal, making it 3-0. That was Giroux’s third goal this season as well as his seventh power-play point.
As strong a start as that was, they were lucky to escape the period leading 3-1 as they were badly outplayed the final eight minutes of the stanza, where goalie Steve Mason was tested repeatedly.
The Isles led in shots after two periods, 23-22. That’s what happens when you stop skating and relax after storing up a fat lead.
Mason was under siege in the third period, as well.
The Flyers have a seven-game point streak (6-0-1). They are now 10-7-2 under Berube.
John Tavares scored at even strength at 14:04 of the second period. The last EV strength goal the Flyers gave up during this seven-game points streak was to Edmonton’s Taylor Hall at 13:25 of the third period on Nov. 9.
Adam Hall rarely loses a defensive draw but he did to Casey Cizikas in the third period, and the puck took an odd bounce and ended up on Eric Boulton’s stick for a goal that made it a 3-2 nailbiter.
In the paint
Couturier and Voracek both had solid chances late in the opening period.
Flyers had a third-period goal correctly denied off video review when the puck entered the side of the net after it had been lifted above the ice.
That would be Flyers goalie Mason, who had to come up two big saves in the final 2:21 of the second period with wide-open or point-blank chances from Thomas Vanek -- off the fly in the right circle -- and Josh Bailey, who got behind Braydon Coburn and Nick Grossmann in the final :31 on a semi-breakaway pass from Frans Nielsen. Mason made the glove stop.
Mason is now 7-7-2 with a 2.11 goals against average a .933 save percentage. He has gone 4-0-2 in his last six appearances with a 1.63 GAA and a .949 save percentage.
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen injured his right hand in the final seven minutes of the first period trying to catch a puck from being cleared with his glove. It stung pretty good and he was in obvious pain on the bench as a trainer wrapped his hand so he could remain in the game. He returned late in the period.
Poulin left 3:48 into the second period after giving up three straight goals. He was replaced with rookie Anders Nilsson, who played very well.
The Flyers' power play has risen in the past week to 14.5 percent as they scored at least one goal for the sixth consecutive game. They have seven goals over that span.
The Flyers had two delay of game calls late in the third period. They had three such delay penalties against Ottawa on Tuesday.
Defensemen Andrej Meszaros (seven games) and Hal Gill (seven games) and forward Michael Raffl (four games) were all healthy.
Now it’s back on the road again for a two-game trip to Florida where they’ll meet the Panthers (Monday) and Lighting (Wednesday).