Flyers survive, maintain lead in race for No. 4 seed

   UNIONDALE, N.Y. _ Outplayed for two periods, the Flyers rallied and avoided what could have been a disastrous loss Saturday night.

   They outlasted the New York Islanders in a shoot-out, 4-3, and maintained their slim lead in the race for the No. 4 seed in the East.

    A loss would have put the Flyers into the No. 5 spot, behind Carolina and tied with Pittsburgh.

    Instead, thanks to a rally that wiped out a 2-0 third-period deficit, the Flyers are one point ahead of Carolina and two ahead of Pittsburgh. (The Flyers have games in hand on both.)

   "If we don't take care of ouselves, it doesn't really matter what anyone else is doing," coach John Stevens said.

   The Isles have the fewest amount of points among the NHL's 30 teams. Yet, they have played solidly in the last few weeks and were coming off Friday's stunning 2-0 win at Detroit, the defending Stanley Cup champion.

    The Flyers scored three goals in a 3:56 span (two by Joffrey Lupul sandwiched around a Scott Hartnell goal) to take a 3-2 lead.

   They won the shoot-out thanks to goals by Mike Richards and Danny Briere and two saves by Marty Biron, who became the first goalie to ever register 11 straight wins against the Islanders.

    In the third period, Stevens primarily went back to the two lines he had been using until five games ago: Richards centering Mike Knuble and Simon Gagne, and Jeff Carter centering Lupul and Hartnell.

    The Flyers will face visiting Boston Sunday night; they will need to play like they did in the third period and OT if they expect another victory. Antero Niittymaki will start in goal for the Flyers.

   Notes. Matt Carle and Arron Asham were each plus-2, while Kimmo Timonen and Ryan Parent  were each a minus-2.....Each team won 32 faceoffs....Richards had six takeaways....Gagne and Carter each had six shots on goal....The Flyers are 5-0 against the Isles, who have lost 30 games this season either by one goal or one plus an empty-net score.