Gagne leads Flyers past Isles
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 had."
New York (26-46-9), which has already 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 will face Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs. Philadelphia needs to earn one point in its season finale against the New York Rangers on Sunday to secure home-ice advantage in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup, otherwise it will go to the Penguins.
Sean Bergenheim and Tim Jackman scored for the Islanders, who have lost three in a row. New York 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 past Danis.
"Our big thing is trying to get home-ice advantage," Knuble said. "They came out really strong, but we were able to keep up with them."
Jackman tied the game at 15:23 with a shot that surprised Biron.
Gagne restored Philadelphia's lead 52 seconds later on a wrist shot.
"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."
Weight was given the Islanders' Good Guy Award for his cooperation with the media. ... New York is .500 at home (17-17-6) with one game remaining. ... The Flyers, who went 20-14-7 on the road this season, are going to the playoffs for the 33rd time in their 41 seasons.