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Sharp nets two as Flyers win fifth straight game

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Patrick Sharp picked the perfect time to
show his offensive side.

Sharp scored two goals, including the tiebreaker early in the
third period, and the Philadelphia Flyers overcame a two-goal
deficit to beat the New York Islanders 3-2 Thursday night for their
fifth straight victory.

Sharp's performance -- with help from linemates Jeff Carter and
Brian Savage -- came when the Flyers' high-scoring line of Simon
Gagne, Peter Forsberg, and Mike Knuble had a rare off night. That
trio was blanked after combining for 67 points in Philadelphia's
previous 13 games.

"Our line isn't looking to score goals every night," Sharp
said. "But on a night when Fors and Gags had a rough night, we
could chip in."

Gagne had scored seven goals in the previous four games.
Forsberg leads the NHL with 24 assists, including 12 in the
previous six games.

"I just try to go out and play hard," said Sharp, who helped
lead the Philadelphia Phantoms to the Calder Cup championship in
the AHL last season. "I'm not looking to necessarily go out and
score two goals, but when you do the little things right, things go
your way."

Carter had a goal and two assists, and Antero Niittymaki made 38
saves for the Flyers, who have won eight straight at home.

Miroslav Satan and Mike York scored power-play goals in the
first period to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead. New York held a
40-30 shots advantage, including 20-5 in the first period.

Sharp put Philadelphia ahead 3-2 with a slap shot from the right
circle. He cut the Flyers' early deficit in half 3:35 into the
second period when he fired a shot from almost the same spot.

Islanders coach Steve Stirling said Sharp's winner was the
result of a defensive zone breakdown.

"We kind of went brain dead for 10 seconds in a 2-2 game,"
Stirling explained.

The Islanders scored twice in a 37-second span in the first
period.

With New York skating with a 5-on-3 advantage, Satan took a
centering pass from Alexei Yashin and one-timed a shot past
Niittymaki at 14:39.

York scored on a slap shot from just inside the blue line at
15:16 with the puck bouncing off Flyers defenseman Joni Pitkanen
and into the net.

Niittymaki, making his first start since allowing seven goals in
an 8-6 loss at Carolina on Oct. 28, was sensational early. He
stopped Mark Parrish on a breakaway and then turned away Jason
Blake's rebound attempt in the opening minutes. Later, he made a
sprawling save on Parrish's close-in attempt.

Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said Philadelphia easily could've
been down 5-0 if not for Niittymaki's first-period effort.

"You just want to play well and rebound well after a bad
game," Niittymaki said. "Sometimes a team doesn't play that well
and a goalie has to step up. If a player makes a mistake, the
goalie has to stop [the shot]. And it goes the other way around."

Sharp said "there were a lot of questions" about how
Niittymaki was going to bounce back after the Carolina game.

"But he was on top of his game tonight and he will only get
better," Sharp said.

Jeff Carter tied it 2-2 with 3:07 left in the second. Islanders
goaltender Rick DiPietro stopped R.J. Umberger's breakaway but
couldn't control the rebound. Carter flipped the puck in off
defenseman Alexei Zhitnik.

"This was one of those games that we didn't deserve to lose,"
DiPietro said. "They took it to another level in the second
period. We needed to have that killer instinct and put teams
away."

Game notes
The Islanders went 1-2 on their three-game road trip,
losing 6-0 to Ottawa and defeating New Jersey 4-1. ... Niittymaki
had allowed 12 goals in his previous two starts. ... Zhitnik had
his team-leading 11th assist on Satan's goal. ... The Flyers
haven't lost at home since dropping their opener to the New York
Rangers. ... Islanders D Chris Campoli hit the post with a shot
late in the third period.