They knew better. The Flyers weren’t going to take the Islanders lightly, not after they were embarrassed by the Atlantic Division’s basement dwellers almost three weeks ago at Wells Fargo Center.
But they had no way of knowing that Evgeni Nabokov would turn in the best goaltending performance they faced all season and steal the game for the Islanders in a 1-0 shootout.
The 36-year-old Russian netminder blanked the Flyers on all 45 shots they fired at him. Even in overtime, Nabokov made an extra four saves. Neither Danny Briere nor Wayne Simmonds could beat him in a shootout.
The Flyers heavily outshot the Islanders, 45-18, but couldn’t solve Nabokov. For the first time since Dec. 6, 2005, the Flyers played a scoreless tie through regulation — they won that contest 1-0 at home over Calgary.
Ilya Bryzgalov was sharp as well, making 18 saves and was perfect until the shootout. There, he allowed goals to Frans Neilsen and John Tavares. As a team, the Flyers are now 1-5 in shootouts. Bryzgalov has allowed eight goals on 10 shots in the shootouts.
For their efforts, the Flyers got a much-needed point in the standings. They hadn’t got one in their last two games and have lost three in a row for the first time since last March.
Not only did they get a point, but a key piece of the Flyers’ offense returned.
Center Danny Briere returned after missing six games with a concussion. He played 19:21 and was 60 percent on faceoffs.
“I’m 100 percent,” said Briere, who has 13 goals and 17 assists this season. “It’s all about the symptoms. It’s not like a knee or a shoulder where you’re finding your way back. When you’re symptom-free, you’re 100 percent.”