Miller, Hilbert score third-period goals to lead Islanders past Flyers 4-2

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Mike Sillinger and Andy Hilbert scored 1:18 apart early in the third period to help the Islanders beat Philadelphia 4-2 Thursday night to snap a three game losing streak and hand the Flyers their seventh straight loss.

"We've struggled as of late with third period," Sillinger said. "Let's face it. Our (recent) games have not been the greatest. It's time to bear down. Now we have a week to think about it. When you go into an all-star break, you want to finish with a good feeling."

Randy Robitaille and Jason Blake also scored for the Islanders, who had dropped nine of 11.

Randy Jones and Simon Gagne scored goals, and Peter Forsberg had his 600th assist for the Flyers, who have the fewest home wins (3) in the NHL. Their last win at home was 3-2 over Columbus on Nov. 24.

Sillinger, an ex-Flyer, scored on a power play with a two-man advantage at 3:27 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie. He converted a rebound of a shot by Miroslav Satan. Hilbert scored from the left circle at 4:45.

Islanders coach Ted Nolan was impressed with his team's effort in the third period.

"You look at a guy like Sillinger," Nolan explained. "We asked him to empty his tank in the third period and he emptied it. They gave everything they had to give. It was a big win for us. Now we can enjoy our eight day (all-star) break and come back energized mentally and physically."

Rick DiPietro had 29 saves for the Islanders. Philadelphia's Antero Niittymaki stopped 32 shots, but suffered his 14th straight defeat (0-13-1).

"It's been a long time since I won a game," Niittymaki said. "I just have to keep battling hard and, hopefully, I will get that win sooner or later."

Robitaille, another ex-Flyer, put the Islanders ahead at 8:16 of the first period when he skated across the goalmouth and tapped a loose puck into the net.

"We know that the Flyers are a fragile team," said Robitaille , who was traded to the Islanders for Mike York, on Dec. 20. "I was there when things weren't going well. It just seems this year that when things go bad for them, they really go bad."

Philadelphia tied the score at 3:08 of the second period on Randy Jones' slap shot from the left circle, his first goal in 19 games.

The Islanders went ahead 2-1 on a power play at 12:58 when Blake deflected a slap shot by Sean Hill that bounced off Sillinger's stick. It was the first goal in eight games for Blake, who leads the Islanders with 24 goals and 43 points.

"It was one of those ugly ones that I needed," Blake said. "When you're not scoring, you just got to get to the net and, hopefully, get a break."

Forsberg's milestone assist came when he threaded a pass to Gagne, who scored a one-timer from the right circle on a power play to knot the game at 2-2 at 14:19 of the second period.

"Philadelphia's Todd Fedoruk said that the penalties in the third period drained the Flyers' energy."

"When there is 10 minutes left in the game and you have to score two goals, it turns into an uphill battle," he said.

Notes: Philadelphia C Mike Richards and LW Geoff Sanderson returned after each missed 16 games with torn abdominal muscles. ... Philadelphia's Mike Knuble hit the right post late in the first period. ... Islanders D Bruno Gervais was scratched with a sprained ankle. ... The Islanders were in the second game of a stretch where they are playing nine of 12 games on the road.


David Perron

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