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Barzal, Palmieri lift Islanders to 2-1 win over Flyers in Bo Horvat debut

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Islanders Flyers Palmieri Pageau Bo Horvat debut
New York Islanders’ Kyle Palmieri, left, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau celebrate after a goal by Palmieri during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA —  The offense was held to less than three goals for a 13th time in 14 games, but a third straight win is a third straight win — especially when it provides a happy recap for the debutante, Bo Horvat. 

The Islanders (26-22-5) took down the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1, riding a rare power-play goal from Kyle Palmieri and Mathew Barzal’s second goal in as many games as they continue to put a 10-losses-in-11-game stretch firmly in the rear-view mirror with three consecutive victories.

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In his team debut after being acquired from the Vancouver Canucks last week, Horvat recorded four shots on goal while upping the menace of a first line anchored by Barzal that had lacked bite for long spurts throughout this season.

“I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous tonight,” Horvat said. “The guys made me feel really comfortable and they were great… I think it’s going to take me some time to get used to some different things with terminology and system-wise, but it felt good out there tonight. They made it pretty easy on me.”

Even with 13 high-danger chances accrued, the Islanders needed another solid performance from Semyon Varlamov, who turned away 25 of 26 Flyers shots in the win.

Bo Horvat Islanders
New York Islanders’ Bo Horvat, right, shoots the puck against Philadelphia Flyers’ Cam York during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Palmieri broke the Islanders’ lengthy power-play malaise — which extended to an 0-for-26 drought and 3-for-its-previous-65 after misfiring on an early first-period man advantage — when he flashed down the right wing and sniped a wrister from the circle just inside the opposite post with 2:53 to go in the opening frame.

It was a lead well-deserved for the Islanders, which had largely controlled the play and the chances, outshooting Philadelphia 15-7. Horvat had two of those shots from close-range chances created by Barzal and had another early opportunity from just outside the crease skitter wide of the post. 

“I was running on adrenaline there in the first period,” Horvat said. “But I’m overall happy with the game. IT feels even better to get the win.”

“Every time Bo had the puck, I had the confidence that he was going to make a play,” Barzal said. “And he did. He won a lot of battles… I really enjoyed it.”

Those 15 first-period shots were the most the Islanders posted in a single road period since Feb. 11, 2022 against the Edmonton Oilers.

Barzal nabbed the Islanders’ second as a beneficiary of superb Noah Dobson vision. After winning a puck out of a scrum in the corner, Brock Nelson found the defenseman in between the dots but instead of shooting, he placed a perfect pass to a streaking Barzal who was coming across goal behind Flyers netminder Carter Hart to tap in an easy 13th goal of the season 8:18 into the second period. 

“He’s got good offensive instincts,” Barzal said of Dobson’s helper. “Great eyes to find me backdoor.”

It was a flashy way for Dobson to pick up his 18th assist of the season and his 100th career NHL point.

The Flyers got their sole tally just 2:21 after Barzal’s goal when Nicholas Deslauriers redirected an Anthony DeAngelo wrister from the point past Varlamov.  

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For more on the Islanders, visit AMNY.com