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game recap

Flyers hand Islanders fourth straight loss

Philadelphia moves within one point of second wild card in Eastern Conference

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Brandon Manning's first NHL goal proved to be the game-winner and the Philadelphia Flyers moved within a point of a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-1 victory against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Monday.

Philadelphia (35-24-12), which is 11-3-2 in its past 16 games, is one point behind the Detroit Red Wings for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference with one game in hand. They are three points behind the Islanders for the first wild card with the same number of games played.

Manning gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead at 13:01 of the second period for his first goal in 66 games. He sped into the offensive zone off a pass from former Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald and beat goalie Thomas Greiss over the shoulder with a wrist shot.

"It's been a long time coming. Your first [goal] everyone says you'll always remember it," Manning said. "I think the biggest thing was to be able to contribute in games like this, in situations like this. The biggest thing for our team was to win tonight."

Video: PHI@NYI: Manning snipes his first career goal

Steve Mason made 23 saves for the Flyers, who haven't lost back-to-back games in regulation since Feb. 7-9.

"It is a big win," Mason said. "We knew they were going to come out hard. They were coming off a tough road trip there and they wanted to respond. It was nice to weather the storm early. [We] control our own [playoff] fate."

New York (38-24-9) lost its fourth straight game (0-3-1) for the first time this season and have lost five of six. The Islanders, who are two points ahead of the Red Wings for the first wild card with one game in hand, face the Ottawa Senators at Barclays Center on Wednesday and play seven of their final 11 games at home.

"It's not like we're not trying," said Islanders captain John Tavares, who played his 500th NHL game. "We just have to execute better and we just got to play with a little more confidence and believe in our game and the way we have to play. There can't be any panic, obviously we need some urgency and we need to get some points. It's crucial in the final stretch."

Video: PHI@NYI: Gagner extends the lead on the doorstep

Nick Cousins opened the scoring 2:34 into the second period. Jakub Voracek dumped the puck into the zone off the boards, got the puck back in the corner and threw it in front to Cousins, who put it past Greiss for his sixth of the season.

"We're chasing these guys now. It was a big game, probably the biggest game of the season so far," Cousins said. "We have to move on to tomorrow (against the Columbus Blue Jackets) and bring the same effort. ...This was a big test for us, a big challenge. …We stayed composed [and] played our game for a full 60 minutes."

Kyle Okposo tied the game 1:20 later with his 20th of the season. After his first shot was denied by Mason, he followed the play and jammed in his own rebound.

"Right now, we are just pretty inconsistent," Okposo said. "We lost in the first round [of the playoffs] last year. We want to go deep. We have to dig ourselves out of it and find a way to play better in March and April because we want to play in May and June. Right now, it's just not happening."

Video: PHI@NYI: Cousins tallies five-hole to open scoring

The Islanders, who have scored four goals in four games, had two power-play opportunities in the first period but were unable to convert on either.

"We have to find a way to score; we are getting chances," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We have to make sure at some point we light the lamp here."

Sam Gagner scored in the third period to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead. Claude Giroux scored an empty-net goal with 26.1 seconds left.

"I've said all along, it's not the last couple of weeks, our team has played well over the last 30 games," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "The guys are playing hard and they're playing together. We've known all along that we've got a tough battle to get above the line in the playoff race. The guys are having fun and they're working hard right now. There's a goal in mind, but I think every day it's more critical to focus on the task at hand, to show up, to play hard, and have fun while you're doing it."

Video: Mason's defensive work leads Flyers past Islanders

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