Islanders visit Flyers aiming to lock up playoff spot

( – The New York Islanders will try to secure a playoff spot
on Tuesday when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers for Tuesday’s Metropolitan
Division battle.

The Islanders are third in the Metro with 98 points, one behind the Washington
Capitals, who clinched a postseason berth on Sunday. New York only needs to
gain a point from tonight’s game at the Wells Fargo Center to reach the
playoffs for the second time in three seasons. A loss by Ottawa in Tuesday’s
game against Pittsburgh also would clinch a postseason berth for the Isles.

New York is three points ahead of the fourth-place Penguins for the third
playoff seed in the division. Both teams have three games remaining in the
regular season and they will meet in Pittsburgh on Friday when the Isles
complete a two-game road trip.

The Islanders won for second time in three games with Saturday’s 3-0 decision
in Buffalo. The shutout victory also extended New York’s point streak to three

Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves for his sixth shutout of the season, while
Kyle Okposo, Brock Nelson and Nikolay Kulemin provided goals for New York.

“We knew we wanted to come out and not give them much opportunity,” said

Halak is expected to start in net tonight and is 7-2-0 with a 2.14 goals
against average in nine career games versus the Flyers.

New York is 21-13-5 as the visiting club this season. Following this two-game
swing, the Isles will close their schedule Saturday against Columbus in the
final regular-season tilt at Nassau Coliseum. The club is relocating to the
Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the start of 2015-16.

The Isles ended a three-game slide in Philadelphia with a 3-2 shootout
decision on Feb. 5 and New York enters tonight riding a four-game overall win
streak in this series. The Islanders can complete the first season sweep of
the Flyers in franchise history with another victory tonight.

Philadelphia will miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, but
the club has gained at least a point in six straight games. The Flyers are
3-0-3 during the point streak and coming off their second win over the
Penguins in the span of a few days.

The Flyers completed their first season series sweep of the Penguins since the
1983-84 season after notching a 4-1 home win on Sunday afternoon. Philly also
posted a 4-1 decision in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Steve Mason made 46 saves to anchor Philadelphia’s to Sunday’s victory.
Brayden Schenn scored a goal and added two assists, while Jake Voracek
finished with a goal and a helper.

“They have something to play for, and we were happy to take it away from
them,” said Mason.

Ryan White and Michael Del Zotto also scored for the Flyers, who went 4-0
against Pittsburgh this season and have won eight straight overall in the

Voracek has 79 points on the season, leaving him two behind Penguins star
Sidney Crosby for the NHL scoring lead.

Philadelphia is playing the second test of a season-ending four-game
homestand. The Flyers own a solid 22-9-7 record as the host.