Flyers get on a roll after coach's rant

PETER LAVIOLETTE'S chewing gum was gone - angrily tossed on the still-fresh floor of the Flyers' bench at the Wells Fargo Center.

Just 3 minutes and 45 seconds into last night's game, barely enough time for his players to break a sweat, it wasn't that the gum had lost its flavor.

It's just that he needed the extra room to give his team a tongue-lashing.

With steam practically pouring out of his ears, Laviolette signaled for a timeout. The Islanders already had gathered a 1-0 lead - the ninth game in a row the Flyers failed to score the first goal. New York outnumbered the Flyers, 5-1, in the shots category.

And Laviolette's words were, well, unprintable.

"I think he probably leads the league for coaches in the NHL with timeouts in the first 3 minutes of the game," Scott Hartnell said. "Our starts have been absolutely horrible. It seems like it takes us 10 minutes to get into the game."

Last night, one streak remained: The Flyers have escaped with a lead after the first 10 minutes of a game just once in the last 36 contests.

But in part due to Laviolette's words, another streak ended: The Islanders' brief winning run in Philly. Before the Flyers could make it back to the locker room for more from their coach, they garnered a 2-1 edge and used that to cruise to a 6-3 victory over the not-so-poor-anymore Islanders.

The win not only prevented the Islanders from shockingly sweeping the season series in Philadelphia - to follow up a previous 0-11-2 run at the Wells Fargo Center - but it also catapulted the Flyers up to fifth place in the Eastern Conference over idle Ottawa.

"His point was pretty clear: If you're not playing, you're not going to play," said Hartnell, who eclipsed his career high in goals with 31. "You don't want to get sat 5 minutes into the first period, because you're not getting back out there. The message was clear. The message was received."

Along the way, Kimmo Timonen and Jaromir Jagr both set career milestones, and most encouragingly, Matt Read broke out of his frustrating scoring slump with two goals, the second two-goal game of his young career.

Read, 25, had scored just once in the last 16 games. This week, he shaved off his long locks in San Jose, perhaps as a way to shake the doldrums. "If I had known it was the hair, I would have done it a long time ago," Read said.

"It was kind of getting to me the last three, four games. It was frustrating. I was working too hard, I guess, maybe gripping the stick a little too tight when you do actually get the puck. I talked to my linemates about being comfortable and playing with a little bit of a swagger when we do get it, trying to control it."

With another big run, like the 11 points in 10 games he posted from Dec. 23 to Jan. 21, Read could jump back into the Calder Trophy race for Rookie of the Year.

"I think he's a real talented player," Laviolette said. "You always wonder, because he's younger or in his first year in the league. But he's not showing any signs [of fatigue]. He's not getting points like maybe he's wanted to, but I think he's been strong the entire year. You just notice him more when he's on the scoreboard."

 

Timonen's 500th point

It was a milestone night for both Jaromir Jagr and Kimmo Timonen - and they both were achieved on the same goal. When Jagr gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead, he moved into a tie for eighth place with Joe Sakic on the NHL's all-time points list with 1,641.

More importantly, Timonen picked up the secondary assist on the goal for his 500th NHL point. He received a standing ovation from the 19,674 inside the Wells Fargo Center a few minutes later.

Timonen, 36, is now sixth among active defensemen in points. He is on pace for his most productive season offensively since 2006-07.

"I really appreciated it," Timonen said. "It's been 14 years. In 1993, I got drafted as a small guy. To be honest, not that many people believed I could do it. I got a chance to play in Nashville in 1998 and then I've had a pretty good 5 years here. It's actually a pretty nice feeling."

 

Slap shots

Claude Giroux added three assists, giving him 52 this season and equaling his career-high in points (76). He's the first Flyers to record 50 or more assists in back-to-back years since Mark Recchi in 1999-2000 and 2000-01 . . . "Mr. Hockey" Gordie Howe attended the game with his son, Mark, a Red Wings scout. Mark Howe's No. 2 will be retired Tuesday against Detroit . . . Scott Hartnell (31) joined Wayne Simmonds (22) and Max Talbot (17) as Flyers who have set new career highs in goals this season.