The Philadelphia Flyers are in the midst of perhaps their best stretch of hockey this season. Unfortunately for them, it was far too late.
The strong run continued in Thursday's home finale at the Wells Fargo Center, as rookie defenseman Oliver Lauridsen netted a tiebreaking goal late in the third period of the Flyers' 2-1 win over the playoff-bound New York Islanders.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 21 saves for Philadelphia, which has won three straight and five of its last six games. Danny Briere supplied the other goal for a Flyers squad that will not participate in the postseason for the first time in six years.
Kevin Poulin stopped 28 shots in his first start for the Islanders since April 2.
New York, which sits eighth in the Eastern Conference, had registered at least a point in its previous 11 games (8-0-3). The Islanders, Rangers and Senators all have 54 points, with Ottawa the only team among the three with two games remaining.
Lauridsen, playing in his 14th NHL game, beat Poulin high on the short side with a slap shot from the top of the left circle at the 13:29 mark.
"It was a great D to D pass. I got (the puck from Brandon Manning) and saw that I had a pretty good lane going down and took a couple steps in. I had time to wind it up," Lauridsen said.
Briere put a 19-game goal drought to rest in the first period. With Philadelphia on a power play, Matt Read kept a clearing attempt in the New York zone, and Briere eventually finished off a 2-on-1 down low by converting a feed from Brayden Schenn at 11:41.
The Islanders tied things up 1:37 into the middle period on John Tavares' 28th goal of the season. Tavares dished to Matt Carkner and deflected the defenseman's shot from the right circle past Bryzgalov, who got a piece of the puck with his stick but was unable to prevent it from crossing the goal line.
"We had a bad first period, that's it. I'm not throwing any negativity at you guys, you guys cause all this (stuff) in the world, all the negative stuff," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said when asked if he was concerned about his club after Thursday's contest. "Our team had a bad first period, we had a good second and third period. We didn't win the special teams battle."
The Islanders were outshot 13-4 over the opening 20 minutes.
Briere last scored Feb. 18 at the Islanders ... New York forward Matt Martin played in his 200th career game ... Philadelphia defenseman Matthew Konan, 21, made his NHL debut ... New York closes the regular season Friday in Buffalo, while the Flyers wrap up their campaign Saturday at Ottawa ... The Flyers finished the home portion of their schedule with a 15-7-2 record ... The Islanders were 0-for-12 on the power play against the Flyers this season.