What it means: With a 4-1 win over the Flyers on Tuesday night, the Islanders passed the Rangers in the Eastern Conference standings to tighten their hold on a playoff spot. The Islanders, poised to earn their first playoff berth since 2007, have gone 7-1-1 in their last nine games, the last of which ended with the crowd at Nassau Coliseum chanting, "We want playoffs!"
Tuesday's win was a crucial way for the team to start a tough week. The Islanders now travel to Boston for a game against the Bruins on Thursday before returning home to host the Rangers in a bitter divisional clash on Saturday. With a 2-1 lead to preserve late in the third, the Islanders got an insurance goal -- credited to John Tavares -- when a puck bounced in off Philadelphia's Erik Gustafsson with 1:37 to play. Casey Cizikas piled on with an empty-netter 28 seconds later to seal the win.
Leading after two: Snapping a 1-1 draw, Michael Grabner beat Flyers goaltender Steve Mason with a sharp snapshot for his 13th goal of the season. Colin McDonald picked up an assist on the play, which gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead with 2:18 remaining in the second period.
Good goal: Sprung by a crisp stretch pass from linemate Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek opened scoring Tuesday with a breakaway goal at 6:28 of the first period. Although the play was reviewed, the call on the ice -- good goal -- was upheld for a 1-0 Flyers lead.
Back in action: Returning from a bad bout of the flu that halted his iron-man streak at 284 consecutive games played on Saturday, Matt Moulson knotted the score at 1 with a snapshot that beat Steve Mason with 4:24 to play in the first. Brad Boyes picked up an assist with a nice little dish to Moulson on the 2-on-2 rush.
Rough stuff: Philadelphia’s Brayden Schenn took exception to Matt Martin running into Mason in the crease and challenged the rugged forward to a fight during the second period. Both players dropped the gloves for a quick bout that ended with a takedown by Martin.
Up next: Islanders vs. Bruins, Thursday at 7 p.m.