Formula for Flyers: win 2 and they’re in

The Philadelphia Flyers still control their own destiny in terms of making the NHL playoffs.

That said, they need to avoid laying another egg when they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

Philadelphia (40-26-14) trailed the last-place New York Islanders 4-1 after two periods Tuesday night, rallied to tie it, but then quickly gave up the winning goal in a 5-4 loss. Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Rangers and the Florida Panthers edged the Nashville Predators.

The Flyers lead the Panthers by four points for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference after New Jersey jumped one point ahead of Philadelphia for the first wild card. The Flyers and Devils each have two games remaining while Florida has three.

After hosting the Hurricanes, the Flyers end the regular season against the visiting New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon, giving them two home games against non-playoff teams. In recent weeks however, Philadelphia has lost to struggling teams such as Detroit, Dallas and the Islanders.

“Yeah it is frustrating,” Flyers forward Sean Couturier told the Courier Post. “We’re almost in the playoffs, but we can’t take the foot off the gas pedal. We have to keep pushing. There’s not gonna be any easy games. Carolina, the New York Rangers, they’re not gonna give us the two points. We’ll have to be ready to battle next game.”

Nolan Patrick had two goals and an assist against the Islanders, Claude Giroux added a goal and an assist, and Wayne Simmonds also scored for Philadelphia, which was outshot 17-3 in the second period.

“I don’t think we played well tonight, and that’s the bottom line,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol told NHL.com. “We’ve gone on a stretch here that’s been a (heck) of a run in terms of getting points each night. We didn’t do it tonight, so we’ve got to have a quick reset tomorrow and get back at it two nights from now.”

Giroux’s tally gave him 30 goals for the first time in his career.

Petr Mrazek finished with 32 saves. He fell to 6-6-3 in 15 games since being acquired from Detroit.

Injured goaltender Brian Elliot (lower body) has been practicing with the club but has not yet been cleared to play. Hakstol declined on Wednesday to name Thursday’s starter.

Carolina (35-34-11) has lost its last two games, including Monday’s 3-2 setback to the Panthers that eliminated the Hurricanes from playoff contention.

Alexander Petrovic beat Scott Darling scored with 7:58 remaining to give the Panthers the lead for good. Trevor van Riemsdyk and Derek Ryan scored for Carolina, and Darling made 32 saves.

“I thought we had lots of chances early,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters told NHL.com. “We had lots of good looks, lots of odd-man rushes early. Both teams were a little bit looser than I probably anticipated. The game tightened up a little bit as the game went along. But we needed to get something out of those offensive opportunities early in the game.”

The game was tied 2-2 after two periods, but Carolina failed to deliver what would have been a serious blow to Florida’s playoff chances.

“More than trying to ruin their season, it’s us playing for pride for each other,” Ryan told NHL.com. “That’s more important for me. We’re playing for the Carolina Hurricanes, not trying to ruin the Florida Panthers’ season. That’s how I look at it.”