The Flyers' six-game winless start has faded quicker than Sarah Palin.

Buried in the standings in the season's first few weeks, the Flyers continued their climb tonight as they overcame a two-goal deficit and defeated the lowly New York Islanders, 4-3, at the Wachovia Center.

Simon Gagne's power-play goal with 8 minutes, 52 seconds left snapped a 3-3 tie.

The win, keyed by Darroll Powe's first NHL goal, moved the Flyers into a second-place tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Atlantic Division. Both teams are four points behind the first-place New York Rangers.

The Flyers, who continue to play one-goal games at a stunning rate, are 10-1-3 in their last 14 games.

The Islanders tied it at 3 on Blake Comeau's goal 2 minutes, 17 seconds into the third period. Comeau's soft shot from the right circle may have deflected off defenseman Lasse Kukkonen.

Gagne broke the tie, taking a drop pass from Mike Richards and scoring on a one-timer from the top of the left circle. It was the 14th goal for Gagne, who fired a shot over the glove of Yann Danis.

Enforcer Riley Cote ignited the Flyers' comeback - without his fists.

Cote checked Jon Sim hard into the boards behind the net and then sent a perfect pass out front to Arron Asham, who drilled in a shot from the slot, trimming the Isles' lead to 2-1 with 8:05 left in the opening period.

With the assist, Cote ended a 31-game scoreless streak dating to Feb. 28.

"Our line is the energy line. We were down 2-0 and we wanted to go out there and get a good offensive shift with some hits and good cycling," said Cote, who later bloodied Mitchell Fritz in a second-period fight that the Flyers' winger probably lost. "It worked out where I was on the forecheck and I ended up getting a hit.  The puck just bounced right over to my stick. I tried to make the best play I could and it worked out.

"Just trying to create some energy and get the boys going," Cote added. "We are just trying to give our goal scorers a rest and create some energy. If it isn't a fight or a big hit, you just try to get a good cycle shift."

The Islanders had built a 2-0 lead, getting goals from Andy Hilbert and Doug Weight 1:01 apart.

Hilbert, using a one-timer from the slot, redirected a pretty Chris Campoli pass past Marty Biron while the Islanders were on a power play.

Weight scored on a rebound after Biron had stopped two shots.

With 12:53 left in the middle period, Danis stopped Gagne's shot - he redirected Richards' cross - and somehow knocked away Mike Knuble's rebound.

About a minute later, Powe, the pride of Princeton University, scored on a rebound of Richards' shot. (Richards was doing a double shift.) It was the first goal of Powe's NHL career and it tied the score at 2.

Jeff Carter, on a rebound, scored his 20th goal of the season with 3:58 left in the second period to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead. Carter, who did not score his 20th goal last season until Feb. 25, tied Buffalo's Thomas Vanek for the NHL goal-scoring lead.

WRITE HIM IN read the Wachovia Center scoreboard after Carter's goal.

Carter is not on the NHL all-star ballot. He is 31st among forwards in the fans' voting for starters and likely will be added to the team as a reserve.

Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or scarchidi@phillynews.com.