Islanders Dim Flyers’ Playoff Hopes
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Michael Grabner scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves as the New York Islanders took another step toward the playoffs with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
The Islanders won for the seventh time in nine games and moved two points ahead of the idle Rangers into seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia (17-19-3) is 12th in the East, five points behind the Rangers and the postseason cutoff.
The Islanders, who won just two of their first 11 home games this season, have four consecutive wins at Nassau Coliseum. New York (20-16-4) is four games over .500 for the first time since Feb. 20, 2008.
New York has been tied or ahead in the third period in 34 of 40 games and improved to 19-2-2 when scoring at least three goals.
Jakub Voracek gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the first period.
Grabner scored his 13th goal of the season at 17:42 of the second with a snap shot from between the circles that eluded goalie Steve Mason, who made his first start for the Flyers since being acquired from Columbus on April 3.
John Tavares made it 3-1 for the Islanders with 1:37 left by scoring his team-leading 24th goal. Casey Cizikas added an empty-net goal 28 seconds later. Fans chanted “We want playoffs” and “Last-place Flyers” as time elapsed.
Voracek opened the scoring 6:28 in with his 17th goal. Voracek slid a backhand into the pads of Nabokov, whose momentum carried him and the puck into the net.
Matt Moulson tied it for the Islanders at 15:36 off a nifty pass from Brad Boyes after Tavares started the play. Boyes maneuvered through the defense before backhanding the puck to Moulson, who snapped in his 13th goal.
No. 1 goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who has all of the Flyers’ wins this season, rested in favor of Mason.
Mason kept the Flyers in the game with several sharp saves, most notably stopping Kyle Okposo on a breakaway at 15:31 of the second.
The Islanders will play six of their remaining eight games on the road, where they are 11-5-2.
New York has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of their last nine games, allowing just 14 goals over that stretch. The Islanders haven’t allowed a power-play goal in a season-high six straight games.
The Islanders and Flyers split their first two games. Philadelphia won 7-0 at Nassau Coliseum on Feb. 18, and the Islanders won in a shootout in Philadelphia on March 28. The teams will meet once more in Philadelphia.
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