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NHL Playoff Picture: Flyers Tied 3-3 With Islanders, Lighting Up 3-0 Over Carolina

The Flyers could not have wished for a better opponent in a game where a victory ensures that they clinch the Atlantic division and second place in the East. The Flyers have won 20 of their last 21 meetings with the Islanders, including 12 straight at Wells Fargo Center.

The game got off to an almost impossibly fast start as the Flyers scored twice within the first minute of the first period. Kimmo Timmonen scored just 14 seconds in and Scott Hartnell followed that up with just 47 seconds gone.

The momentum would not continue for the Flyers however as the Islanders came back to tied with goals from Michael Grabner and Travis Hamonic. Danny Briere then restored the Flyers lead with the games fifth goal before the first period has even reached the halfway point.

[Update 04/09/11 7:45 PM EDT ] Islanders' John Tavares scored to make it 3-3. An Islanders win would give the Penguins a chance to take the division and the #2 seed tomorrow.

Meanwhile in Carolina, the Hurricanes need a win over the Lightning and they’re in the playoffs. The Rangers would get the #8 seed should Tampa win. So far, Rangers fans are smiling. Carolina is down 3-0 before the first period is even over in a choke job that has to have the home fans fuming. It’s still early, but things don’t look good for Carolina.

As it stands, the Flyers first round opponent would be either the Buffalo Sabres or the familiar Montreal Canadiens. Both teams are tied in the standings and in action tonight. Montreal has an early 2-1 lead over Toronto, while Buffalo and Columbus are scoreless.