The postseason fate of the Philadelphia Flyers is far from determined, and based on their recent play, it's certain they're trying to avoid missing out on the playoffs again.
Martin Biron looks to win his seventh consecutive start against the New York Islanders as the Flyers continue their four-game road trip Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Philadelphia (39-28-11) suffered through a season-high 10-game slide from Feb. 6-23 that dropped it into a ninth-place tie with the Islanders (34-37-7) in the Eastern Conference.
While New York has since been eliminated from playoff contention, the Flyers have gone 9-3-4 to move up to seventh in the conference, one point ahead of Boston and three points in front of ninth-place Washington.
The Flyers had their four-game winning streak snapped, but came away with a crucial point in a 5-4 shootout loss at New Jersey on Friday.
Mike Knuble and Randy Jones, in his first game back after missing the previous six with a hip flexor injury, each contributed a goal and an assist for Philadelphia, which has split the first two contests of their four-game road trip.
"It's disappointing the way the game ended," said Daniel Briere, who had an assist and scored in the shootout. "You wish that such an effort would get two points. We'll take the point at this point. Every one is critical."
Biron, who is 3-0-1 with a 2.14 goals-against average in his last four overall starts, made 29 saves through overtime Friday before he was beaten by all three New Jersey shooters in the tiebreaker.
Biron should be thrilled to see the Islanders again, a team he has dominated this season and throughout his 10-year career. He has posted a 1.50 goals-against average while winning each of his six starts against them this season. Biron is 14-4-0 with one tie, a 1.92 GAA and two shutouts in 19 career starts against New York.
The Flyers are 6-1-0 in the season series, winning won each of the last three meetings by a 4-1 score, the most recent Sunday night in Philadelphia.
Briere had a goal and two assists, while Biron made 32 saves for Philadelphia, which seeks its first four-game winning streak over the Islanders since Feb. 4-Dec. 20, 2003.
Philadelphia has won two of its last three visits to Long Island, but hasn't won consecutive games there since a four-game run from April 2, 2006-Jan. 2, 2007.
New York plays its next three games at home, where its has dropped five of six - a skid that includes a 4-1 defeat to Philadelphia on March 1.
The Islanders have lost eight of their last 10 games overall, including a 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Thursday that officially eliminated them from the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
Josef Vasicek scored the lone goal, while Wade Dubielewicz made 26 saves for New York, which faltered on each of its five power-play chances and is 3-for-27 in its last six games.
"We made a few mistakes and it cost us," coach Ted Nolan told the Islanders' official Web site. "We didn't capitalize on our power play and they scored one short-handed by banking one off (Bryan) Berard. I thought we played okay five-on-five."
Dubielewicz hasn't faced the Flyers this season, but is 2-0-0 with a tie and a 1.82 GAA in three all-time meetings.
|Mar 29 '08||PHI 4 at NYI 3 - SO||D. Briere|
|Mar 23 '08||NYI 1 at PHI 4||B. Coburn|
|Mar 08 '08||NYI 1 at PHI 4||J. Carter|
|Mar 01 '08||PHI 4 at NYI 1||B. Coburn|
|Feb 12 '08||PHI 3 at NYI 4||R. Fedotenko|
|Jan 19 '08||PHI 5 at NYI 3||S. Hartnell|
|Nov 12 '07||NYI 2 at PHI 3||M. Richards|
|Oct 13 '07||NYI 1 at PHI 3||S. Kapanen|