Flyers 4, Islanders 1
NEW YORK -- Defenseman Brandon Manning scored his first NHL goal -- a tiebreaking tally late in the second period Monday -- and the Philadelphia Flyers continued to tighten the Eastern Conference wild-card race with a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders at Barclays Center.
Manning's goal came in his 66th career game.
Nick Cousins scored earlier in the second period, and Sam Gagner added an insurance goal in the third. Claude Giroux had an empty-netter with 26.1 seconds remaining for the Flyers, who have won nine of their last 12 (9-2-1) to move within one point of the idle Detroit Red Wings for the second and final wild-card spot in the East.
The Flyers (35-24-12) are also only three points behind the Islanders (38-24-9), who have lost four straight (0-3-1) and six of seven (1-4-2) to fall from second place in the Metropolitan Division into the first wild-card spot.
The Flyers and Islanders each have 11 games remaining, including the head-to-head season finale at Barclays Center on April 10. That game was supposed to be played Jan. 23 but was postponed due to a blizzard.
Goalie Steve Mason made 23 saves for the Flyers.
Kyle Okposo scored in the second period for the Islanders, who absorbed their first regulation home loss since Jan. 25. Goalie Thomas Greiss recorded 23 saves.
After a scoreless first period, the Flyers and Islanders traded goals within a 90-second span early in the second.
Cousins put the Flyers ahead 2:24 into the period following a chaotic sequence in front of the Islanders' net. The puck skittered along the boards before Philadelphia right winger Jakub Voracek corralled it and passed to Cousins, who tucked a shot past Greiss as he cut in front of the goalie
Okposo tied it with a second-effort goal in which he was surrounded by five Flyers -- including Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux -- yet managed to put his own rebound underneath Mason's legs.
The Flyers regained the lead on Manning's milestone goal with 6:59 left in the second, when the defenseman's shot sailed under Greiss' glove.
NOTES: The Islanders scratched C Mikhail Grabovski (undisclosed), G Jaroslav Halak (lower body) and D Marek Zidlicky (upper body) as well as RW Steve Bernier, LW Eric Boulton and D Ryan Pulock. ... Islanders C John Tavares played in his 500th career game. He is the 27th player to play at least 500 games for the Islanders and the third to reach the milestone this season, after RW Josh Bailey and RW Kyle Okposo. ... The Flyers scratched G Michal Neuvirth (left knee) as well as D Evgeny Medvedev, C R.J. Umberger and C Jordan Weal. C Chris VandeVelde served the final game of a two-game suspension for elbowing Chicago Blackhawks C Jonathan Toews in the head last Wednesday. ... The Flyers signed D Reece Willcox to an entry-level contract Monday. Willcox was selected by the Flyers in the fifth round of the 2012 draft and recently concluded his senior season at Cornell.