Clinging to playoff berth, Flyers to entertain Isles

Not too long ago, the Philadelphia Flyers appeared to be a lock for the postseason.

Four losses later and the Flyers are barely hanging on, going into a matchup against the visiting New York Islanders on Monday.

The Flyers (36-29-10, 82 points) were thumped 5-1 by the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. As a result, the Flyers dropped into a tie with the Washington Capitals for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Philadelphia also sits in the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings.

The Flyers have played two more games than the Capitals and one more than the Red Wings.

“We didn’t execute. We didn’t make one play,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “Maybe that’s what needs to happen. I think we hit the bottom tonight here. Maybe that’s what needs to happen for us to get back into it.”

Tyson Foerster scored the lone goal against the Blackhawks and goaltender Samuel Ersson wasn’t sharp with 19 saves.

But the Flyers looked flat against a team they needed to beat at this stage of the regular season.

“We should have a ton of energy. We’re fighting for a playoff spot right now,” Travis Sanheim said. “Shouldn’t be lacking energy there. I think we know it’s a long year, lot of games played. Tonight was a big one we needed to have, and unfortunately (we) didn’t show up.”

One bright spot for the Flyers was the return of Nick Seeler, who had two hits and one blocked shot in 19:15 of ice time. He missed the previous 11 games with a lower-body injury.

The Islanders will arrive in Philadelphia following a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Kyle Palmieri scored for the Islanders (31-27-15, 77 points), who have lost eight of 10. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves.

New York remains five points behind the Flyers for the second wild card, adding to the importance of this matchup.

“We didn’t have a good start, that’s for sure,” Islanders coach Patrick Roy said after the loss to the Lightning. “They jumped on us right away. We didn’t handle the puck well in the first. I am happy the way we responded in the second and third periods.

“We had chances in the second period, a lot of good looks. Their goalie made some great saves.”

The losses keep piling up for the Islanders, who can’t afford too many more if they harbor postseason aspirations.

“We have no choice but to turn the page,” Anders Lee said. “The way we competed and generated chances in the final 40 (minutes), those will start going in for us.”

Palmieri gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 2:25 of the first period. But they couldn’t capitalize the rest of the way even with Varlamov’s stellar performance against the electric Lightning offense.

“Varly was outstanding,” Roy said. “In the first period, we gave up a lot of chances and he kept us in the game.”

This will be the final stop on a three-game road trip for New York, which then returns home to meet the Blackhawks on Tuesday.