If the Flyers could figure out a way to schedule the New York Islanders every night, they probably could make plans for a June parade down Broad Street.
The Flyers ended a five-game losing streak tonight by beating the Islanders for the 12th straight time, 6-2, giving coach Peter Laviolette his first win in three tries with his new team.
Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux each scored two goals at the Wachovia Center, steering the Flyers to just their second win in 10 games. Both of those victories are against the Islanders.
The Flyers' power play went 3 for 5; it had been 0 for 19 in the previous five games.
The game included a brief scrum between Scott Hartnell and John Tavares with 9 minutes, 7 seconds left.
For one night, at least, they were not the Legion of Gloom.
For one night, their power play looked formidable.
The Flyers had gone scoreless in 19 straight power-play chances before Richards deflected a Kimmo Timonen shot past their old pal, Marty Biron, midway through the first period. Richards also scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway with 4:46 left in the opening period.
Carter and Giroux ended scoring droughts with second-period power-play goals.
Carter's second-period score ended a six-game stretch without a goal.
About 21/2 minutes later, Carter scored on a rebound with 12:56 left in the second period.
The Islanders trimmed the lead to 4-1 when rookie-of-the-year candidate Tavares scored on a rebound while New York was on a five-on-three power play with 9:08 to go in the period.
A little over a minute later, Tavares appeared to lose a tooth as he was checked into the boards by Chris Pronger and his face smacked against the glass. Pronger was given a boarding penalty, giving New York a brief five-on-three advantage.
Later in the period, with the Isles on a five-on-four power play because of a Danny Briere penalty, Tavares struck again. He scored his 13th goal after a left-circle shot by Kyle Okposo trickled through goalie Brian Boucher's legs and was left in the crease.
The Flyers countered when Giroux converted a Richards pass for the team's third power-play goal of the night. That gave the Flyers a 5-2 lead with 2:31 left in the third period.
The Flyers are in the early stages on a brutal stretch in which they play 12 games in 21 days.
Will those three weeks define the Flyers' season?
"That's a good question," general manager Paul Holmgren said before the game. "To me, I look at the standings, and this year more than any in the past couple of years since the lockout, the . . . bottom teams are still fairly close to the teams that are in the top eight, the so-called playoff teams. We certainly can't continue the way we're going if we expect to make the playoffs. But, is it critical in the next five or 10 games?
That might be a stretch."
The Flyers began the night 13th in the Eastern Conference, but they were just three points behind eighth-seeded Tampa Bay, which had played two more games than Philadelphia.
Breakaways. Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt played tonight after being hit by a gold SUV after leaving the team's Center City hotel and walking across Arch Street yesterday morning. "I saw it and jumped up and took the brunt of it," Witt said told NHL.com. "I did a nice roll and dismount." After the incident, Witt went to the Wachovia Center for the Isles' morning skate.