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Flyers use potent power play to beat Islanders 4-1 and move into 7th in East

PHILADELPHIA - The last time Flyers goalie Martin Biron could remember hearing his name vociferously chanted at the Wachovia Center, a derogatory term usually followed the "Marty!"

This time, the calls were held to his first name and they only grew louder in the third period: "Marty! Marty! Marty!"

"You want to stand there and keep it going," said Biron, smiling. "It's like, bring on more shots to give them more to cheer about."

Biron sent the fans home happy and remained perfect against the Islanders this season, stopping 32 shots and helping the Philadelphia Flyers beat New York 4-1 on Sunday night.

"I'm excited for Marty that he is gaining confidence as we move along," said Flyers coach John Stevens. "We've said all along if you are going to win this time of year, you need really good goaltending and Marty seems like he's getting more confidence as we move along."

Biron, acquired last season from Buffalo, beat the Islanders for the sixth time this season and could make it 7-0 if he gets the start against them on Saturday. The Flyers won their third straight game and snapped a tie with Boston to move into seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Flyers would love to avoid a potential matchup with No. 1 seed Montreal since the Canadiens finished 4-0 against them in the season series.

Vaclav Prospal, Braydon Coburn and Danny Briere all scored power-play goals for the Flyers. Scott Hartnell also scored for the Flyers.

"I just like the energy in our game we're starting to play with," Stevens said.

The Islanders were eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoff race with the loss because at least one of the three Northeast Division contenders closest to them will finish with more points because of several head-to-head matchups, preventing the Islanders from finishing eighth.

"It's tough to watch sometimes," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "We just need to get back and evaluate it and see who's stepping up and who's competing and who's not."

Miroslav Satan spoiled the shutout late in the third with his 15th goal.

"Sometimes you feel confident, sometimes you have a good matchup," Biron said.

With Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro out for the season because of hip surgery, Joey MacDonald made his first start of the year. New York was in the thick of the playoff chase after a six-game winning streak last month, but stands in 13th place in the East and out of the post-season.

Not the Flyers, who survived the scare of a 10-game losing skid and some recent third-period meltdowns to find themselves in position to return to the playoffs after a one-year absence.

The Flyers advertised playoff tickets go on sale this Saturday and they might be worth buying as long as they can avoid a collapse playing their next four games on the road. That starts on Tuesday night against the Rangers, the team they trail by two points in the East.

Briere scored his 29th goal and Hartnell had his 23rd in the third to make it 4-0 and give Biron a needed cushion. The Flyers have blown leads in the final minutes over the past six weeks, lapses that dropped them from fighting for the top seed to battling for a playoff berth.

They can credit their success on the power play (3-for-5) for this win. The Flyers scored multiple power-play goals for the first time since they had four against the Islanders on March 8.

The Flyers had a two-man advantage on their first power-play goal in the first period. Briere signalled and delivered a crisp cross-ice pass toward Prospal and he popped in the puck for his 32nd goal and a 1-0 lead.

"Their defenceman never put his stick in the passing lane," Prospal said. "I basically had a wide-open net just to shoot at."

Coburn wound up from the faceoff circle and drilled a one-timer midway though the second for his ninth goal to make it 2-0.

Notes: Biron improved his career mark to 14-4-1 against the Islanders. ... Biron beat the Islanders 4-1 for the third time this season. ... Flyers D Randy Jones (hip) hopes to return Tuesday against the Rangers.


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