UNIONDALE, New York (AP) — The New York Islanders and
Philadelphia Flyers are looking to the future. The Flyers have
their sights set on the playoffs, while the last-place Islanders
are focusing on the draft.
Martin Biron stopped 30 shots and Simon Gagne had a goal and an
assist in the Flyers’ 3-2 win over the Islanders on Saturday.
“We have to work terribly hard against them,” Flyers forward
Mike Knuble said. “They’re very tough to play against,
especially here, and especially after the last two games they
New York (26-46-9), which already has secured the NHL’s worst
record this season with one game remaining, was beaten 9-0 at
Carolina and 6-1 in Pittsburgh this week.
Joffrey Lupul and Knuble also scored for the playoff-bound
Flyers, who are trying to secure home-ice advantage for the
first round of the playoffs. They will wrap up the regular
season on Sunday at home against the New York Rangers.
Sean Bergenheim and Tim Jackman scored for the Islanders, who
have lost three in a row. The Isles will host Boston – the
Eastern Conference’s top seed – on Sunday.
The Islanders recorded 13 of the game’s first 16 shots, and
Bergenheim scored on No. 13 – taking a pass from Doug Weight and
beating Biron for his 15th goal of the season at 14:06.
“We played a bad first period,” Biron said. “We didn’t manage
the puck well. Over the last 40 minutes, we managed it well.”
Lupul tied it at 5:04 of the second period during Philadelphia’s
first power play. His wrist shot from the top of the right
circle got past Yann Danis.
The Flyers took a 2-1 lead on their second power play, as Knuble
finished off a scramble in front of the net by putting the puck
“Our big thing is trying to get home-ice advantage,” Knuble
said. “They came out really strong, but we were able to keep up
Jackman tied the game at 15:23 with a shot that surprised Biron.
Gagne restored Philadelphia’s lead 52 seconds later on a wrist
“I thought we did better as the game wore on,” Flyers coach John
Stevens said. “I have seen the focus get a lot better this
week. Even in practice, the guys seemed more relaxed and
focused, and that’s a sign that the playoffs are getting close.”
The Islanders will find out during this week’s lottery whether
they will own the first or second pick in the NHL draft in June.
If the Islanders retain the choice, they are expected to land
either star Canadian forward John Tavares or big Swedish
defenseman Victor Hedman.
“There’s a lot of talk about these two players,” Bergenheim
said. “They’ll bring a lot to this team.”