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Islanders continue push toward playoff spot by downing Flyers
Uniondale, NY (Sports Network) - John Tavares and Casey Cizikas scored 28 seconds apart late in regulation to help the New York Islanders down Philadelphia, 4-1, at Nassau Coliseum.
Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner also tallied, while Evgeni Nabokov stopped 26 shots for the Islanders, who surged to their seventh win in their last nine contests.
New York, which hasn't seen postseason hockey since 2007, moved two points ahead of the idle Rangers into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
"We played like we wanted it more. I think that's why we got the two points," Nabokov said. "Everything is positive right now, but you can't get carried away because you know that it's such a fight for the playoffs with eight games left. You can find yourself very quickly the other way. You just want to keep the focus and intensity at the same level, win or lose."
Jakub Voracek's first-period strike was the sole offense for the Flyers, who have lost two in a row after winning four straight.
Steve Mason's first Philadelphia start didn't go as planned, despite the former Columbus netminder stopping 28 pucks.
"It's frustrating," Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. "You can't just expect to score one goal and win a game. You got to continue to push it. Mason played great for us. He was really solid back there."
Bad luck struck the visitors with 1:37 left in regulation. Mason fell backwards in his crease to stop a Tavares chance, and the rebound kicked out to Moulson -- who completely missed the puck -- but the disc slid off the body of defenseman Erik Gustafsson and over the goal line with the score credited to Tavares to make it 3-1.
"I just tried to get the rebound," Moulson said. "I didn't touch it. I kind of pushed Gustafsson toward the net and luckily it went off him and in."
Soon after Mason was pulled for an extra skater, Cizikas found the empty net to seal it for the hosts.
Voracek opened the scoring at 6:18 of the first period, taking a Claude Giroux lead pass on a breakaway and beating Nabokov through the pads with the puck accompanying the Isles netminder as he slid backwards over the goal line.
"I tried to square [Nabokov] up and slide the puck past him," Voracek said. "I was a little lucky that it was early in the period because if it was at the end of the period I don't think he would have slid in with it."
Moulson evened the score with 4:24 left in the period, beating Mason to the short side from between the circles.
Mason stopped Grabner from the left side on a partial breakaway early in the second, then closed off the left post with his pad on a clean Kyle Okposo break-in later in the period.
But Grabner managed to slip one home from the right wing with 2:18 left and New York went to intermission up 2-1.
"I never saw it," Mason said, referencing an attempt by one of his defensemen, Luke Schenn, to block the shot which ended up providing a screen.
The Islanders posted their first home victory against the Flyers since a 6-4 decision on April 1, 2010, snapping a seven-game losing skid on Long Island to their Quaker City counterparts ... Despite the loss, Philly is 15-3-0 at Uniondale since the start of the 2007-08 season ... Tuesday marked Mason's first start since March 29 at Calgary, while he still played for the Blue Jackets.
04/09 23:20:27 ET