for this game

Esche helps Flyers win third in row

Jan 3, 2007 - 5:55 AM
UNIONDALE, New York (Ticker) -- Robert Esche has breathed new life into the Philadelphia Flyers.

Esche came within three minutes of his second shutout of the season and withstood a late rally as the Flyers overcame the loss of star center Peter Forsberg and held on for a 3-2 victory over the struggling New York Islanders.

Mike Knuble, Kyle Calder and Ryan Potulny scored for the Flyers, who had dropped 10 straight games before defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes to close 2006 and opening the new year began with a win over the Islanders.

"It's all great stuff that we're winning, but we know where we are - in last place," Esche said. "We said in the third period that we weren't going to lose. That's a step in the right direction."

Esche has started all three games in place of Antero Niittymaki, who re-injured his hip in practice on Saturday. Esche made a combined 82 saves in wins over Tampa Bay and Carolina and 40 more in this one.

The victory, however, was tempered by the loss of Forsberg, who has six points in the last two games. The star center has endured an injury-plagued season and left after the first period after aggravating a groin problem.

"It's the same problem as before. I don't think I tore it, but I don't know how long (I'll be out)," Forsberg said.

Knuble opened the scoring 6:26 into the second period, taking a pass from Randy Jones and putting a wrist shot from the right circle past Mike Dunham.

The Flyers took a two-goal lead midway through the third period. Jeff Carter put the puck in the direction of Dunham off a scramble in front. The puck dribbled slowly past the Islanders goaltender and Calder poked it into the net for his fifth goal.

Potulny made it 3-0 with 3:24 to play, scoring off a nice pass from Knuble and it loomed large when the Islanders struck for a pair of goals 33 seconds apart by Jason Blake and Mike Sillinger at 17:03 and 17:36, respectively.

"We let down a little bit at the end. We wanted to play 60 minutes and we played 57," Knuble said. "Today we kept plugging away."

Blake scored from between the circles over the shoulder of Esche, and Sillinger directed in a shot from Trent Hunter, but the Flyers tightened in the final two minutes and the Islanders dropped their season-high fourth straight game.

"We have to be ready when the puck drops, Blake said. "Our goalies are the ones playing great from the drop of the puck. We have to make sure we're ready. You need 20 guys to win."

The offensive troubles continued for the Islanders, who have managed just three goals in their last four games and have been shut out twice in that span.

"We have to play with a little more sense of urgency," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "When we don't, it shows."

Star center Alexei Yashin has gone four straight games without a point and seven games without a goal.

Dunham made 32 saves in his first start since December 5 against Ottawa and his first appearance since December 15 against Pittsburgh. He also had an assist on the second New York goal.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 1 2 3
    NY ISLANDERS 0 0 2 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: PHI - MIKE KNUBLE 16 (RANDY JONES, MIKE YORK) 6:26
    3RD PRD: PHI - KYLE CALDER 5 (JEFF CARTER, JONI PITKANEN) 8:28
    PHI - RYAN POTULNY 3 (MIKE KNUBLE, SIMON GAGNE) 16:38
    NYI - JASON BLAKE 23 (ARRON ASHAM,

    Jan 2 9:59 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    NY ISLANDERS 2
    3RD PRD: NYI - MIKE SILLINGER 11 (TRENT HUNTER) 17:36

    Flyers vs. IslandersJan 2 9:56 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    NY ISLANDERS 1
    3RD PRD: NYI - JASON BLAKE 23 (ARRON ASHAM, MIKE DUNHAM) 17:03

    Flyers vs. IslandersJan 2 9:56 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 3
    NY ISLANDERS 0
    3RD PRD: PHI - RYAN POTULNY 3 (MIKE KNUBLE, SIMON GAGNE) 16:38

    Flyers vs. IslandersJan 2 9:55 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 2
    NY ISLANDERS 0
    3RD PRD: PHI - KYLE CALDER 5 (JEFF CARTER, JONI PITKANEN) 8:28

    Flyers vs. IslandersJan 2 9:36 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 1 1
    NY ISLANDERS 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: PHI - MIKE KNUBLE 16 (RANDY JONES, MIKE YORK) 6:26
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHI 14 9 23
    NYI 15 14 29
    GOALIES: PHI - ROBERT E

    Jan 2 9:06 PM


  • NHL
    PHILADELPHIA 1
    NY ISLANDERS 0
    2ND PRD: PHI - MIKE KNUBLE 16 (RANDY JONES, MIKE YORK) 6:26

    Flyers vs. IslandersJan 2 8:44 PM
  • 10
    roots
    bones Added 10 roots

    Flyers vs. IslandersJan 2 8:21 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0
    NY ISLANDERS 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PHI 14 14
    NYI 15 15
    GOALIES: PHI - ROBERT ESCHE
    NYI - MIKE DUNHAM

    Jan 2 8:15 PM