PHILADELPHIA — Oliver Lauridsen and Danny Briere scored goals to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to 2-1 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday.
Lauridsen scored his second career NHL goal on a slap shot high above the circle late in the third period to lift the Flyers to a win in their home finale. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
As always, the Flyers had expectations of a deep playoff run. But injuries that decimated the defense and overall inconsistent play doomed the team in the lockout-shortened season.
This summer is shaping up to be a big offseason of change for the Flyers. The team has not won the Stanley Cup since 1975.
Coach Peter Laviolette is on the hot seat and his return for a fifth season is in doubt. With a hefty $6.5 million salary cap hit and declining production, Briere knows the Flyers could use one of their amnesty buyouts on him.
One of the top playoff performers in franchise history, Briere was limited this season because of a broken wrist and concussion. His first goal in 20 games was met with a loud ovation from fans in what could have been his final one at home.
With his two sons by his side in the locker room, Briere said his only focus was on finishing the season, not his contract.
“It wouldn’t be right for me to start commenting on that at this point,” he said. “I have a job to do. I have one more game to play. Once the season is over we will see but in my mind, I am coming back next year. I have a contract and I hope to be back. That’s all I can say.”
The Flyers (22-22-3) finish the season Saturday at Ottawa. Should the Flyers beat the Senators, they’d finish on a four-game winning streak.
Not all the Flyers would be impressed.
“What’s the point? There’s no difference,” goalie Ilya Bryzgalov said. “We are not going to make the playoffs. It doesn’t matter whether you’re two games below or two games above .500. It’s pointless. Of course, it’s nice to win the games, but at the end of the day it doesn’t change anything.”
Brayden Schenn set up Briere’s sixth goal of the season with a precision pass in the crease straight through defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky’s legs. Briere easily got the puck past Kevin Poulin.
John Tavares tied the game at 1-1 just 1:37 into the second period on a tip-in for his 28th goal of the season. He was third in the NHL in goals entering Thursday night.
Lauridsen put the Flyers ahead with a hard shot that whipped over Poulin’s stick side shoulder.
Notes: The Flyers selected their individual award winners: Jakub Voracek was picked the team MVP and most improved; Kimmo Timonen, top defenseman; Scott Harntell, class and character; Zac Rinaldo, most heart; Claude Giroux, most stars of the game