New York Islanders center Brock Nelson skates toward the bench...

New York Islanders center Brock Nelson skates toward the bench after celebrating his goal in the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at UBS Arena on Saturday. Credit: Corey Sipkin

The Islanders knew they couldn’t overlook the also-ran Flyers and their roster of players looking to secure jobs for next season. And they already knew one of their two closest pursuers in the Eastern Conference wild-card chase had won.

So they did what they had to do Saturday night, backing Ilya Sorokin’s strong early work and eventually wearing down the Flyers, 4-0, at UBS Arena to retain the second wild-card spot with their second straight win.

“We started a little slowly, but after that, we started to gain territory and we might have overwhelmed them a little bit as the game went on,” Cal Clutterbuck said.

Sorokin stopped 27 shots for his sixth shutout and Bo Horvat, Simon Holmstrom and defenseman Noah Dobson had two assists each.

“They came out hard, Ilya made some big saves early,” said Dobson, whose stretch pass from the defensive zone sprung Brock Nelson to the left circle for a 2-0 lead at 7:50 of the second period. “But once we get to our game, it’s frustrating for the other team. Not a lot of chances. I thought in the third period we did a really good job of locking it down.”

So the Islanders (41-30-9) kept pace with the Panthers and Penguins in the wild-card chase. The Penguins earned a 5-1 road win over the Red Wings on Saturday afternoon and the visiting Panthers later edged the Capitals, 4-2, for their sixth straight victory.

“It doesn’t do anything in the room,” coach Lane Lambert said of knowing the Penguins had won earlier in the day. “We know we have to win. We feel like if we take care of our business, we’ll be in a good spot. We know the result. But that’s about it.”

The Panthers and Islanders are even with 91 points in 80 games, but the Panthers have one extra regulation win. The Penguins are one point back.

Carter Hart made 15 saves for the Flyers (29-37-13), who have lost six straight, before being replaced by Felix Sandstrom (two saves) to start the third period.

The Islanders will finish the season with a road game against the Capitals on Monday night and a home game against the Canadiens on Wednesday night. The Canadiens have long been out of the playoff picture and the Capitals will miss the postseason for the first time since 2014.

The Flyers pressured early in the first period and the Islanders struggled defensively in their zone, forcing Sorokin to make 15 saves in the opening 20 minutes.

“If you think before the game, ‘OK, I’ll do a shutout,’ it never works,” Sorokin said. “Just play moment to moment, step by step, and what happens happens.”

“Sorokie probably kept us in it in the first,” Nelson said. “It seems like a recurring theme. As the game went on, in the second, we got a little bit better. A little cleaner. Had some chances and capitalized on them. That was the difference.”

Holmstrom’s second assist was a beauty. Gathering the puck in the defensive zone, he banked a backhander into the neutral zone to spring Horvat, who used a stop-and-start move to create space for rookie defenseman Samuel Bolduc on the left. Bolduc’s hard wrister made it 3-0 at 15:06 of the second period.

“[Horvat] put on the brakes and two guys went on him and he just put it on my tape,” Bolduc said of his second career goal.

Hudson Fasching capped the scoring off the rush at 18:21 of the third period.

Zach Parise’s apparent power-play goal at 12:05 of the second period was overturned via a video review for a high stick.

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