Sean Couturier had three points in the game's first 8 minutes, 6 seconds.

Dale Weise and Wayne Simmonds had Gordie Howe hat tricks - a goal, an assist, and a fight - in the first period.

The Flyers scored almost as many goals (five) in the opening 15:42 as they had in their previous three games combined (six) against the New York Islanders this season.

In other words, it was not your typical night at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday.

The Flyers, a team that has struggled to score goals since mid-December, defeated the New York Islanders, 6-3, and kept their slim (but fading) hopes alive in the Eastern Conference wild-card race.

The Flyers built a 5-0 lead and then went into a defensive shell - they were outshot 31-11 over the last two periods - but recorded their third straight win and their fourth in five games.

"You can't draw up a better start than that," Weise said. "When you see some of the goals we're scoring - just go to the net and get rebounds - it makes you wonder where a couple of those have been."

For those scoring at home, the Flyers are 4-1 since Steve Mason criticized the team for not playing with enough desperation in a 3-1 loss in Winnipeg on March 21.

They are 3-0 since captain Claude Giroux said they needed to run the table to have a chance to sneak into the playoffs.

The Flyers, who iced the win on Valtteri Filppula's empty-net goal, remained six points out of the final wild-card spot and they have just five games left.

"We did this to ourselves," Simmonds said after the Flyers' tragic number dropped to four points - points they don't get, plus points gained by Boston. "For us it's just try to win every single game and hope we can get some help."

Boston scored a 2-0 win over Dallas on Thursday.

Weise had two goals in his first 50 games. He has scored four times in his last nine games. He tipped in a Couturier pass with 15:30 left in the first to start the rout.

When Weise decisioned Travis Hamonic 8:28 into the game, he completed the fastest Gordie Howe hat trick in franchise history. Rick Tocchet did it in 11:02 in a 6-3 win over St. Louis on Jan. 5, 1985.

"Hamonic kind of came over and asked me for a fight," Weise said. "He's a good Winnipeg boy, so I thought I'd give him one there."

Weise grew up in Winnipeg and lives there in the offseason. (Hamonic was injured in the fight and missed the rest of the game.)

Weise, Couturier, Radko Gudas, Jordan Weal (sixth goal in 12 games) scored goals to make it 4-0 after just 9:19. Gudas' goal chased starter Thomas Greiss (three goals on eight shots), who was replaced by Jaroslav Halak.

Simmonds' 30th goal increased the lead to 5-0. Painfully.

While the Flyers were on a power play, Shayne Gostisbehere's blast deflected off Simmonds' right knee, then deflected off defenseman Johnny Boychuk and into the net with 4:18 to go in the first.

Simmonds limped to the bench in agony, but returned a short time later. In franchise history, the Flyers had never had two players register Gordie Howe hat tricks in the same period until Thursday.

"We came out strong and we came prepared and ready to play," said Couturier after the first three-point period of his career gave him 14 points in his last 14 games. "I'm not sure if they were ready for us."

The Flyers looked disinterested in the second period, getting outshot, 22-3, and the Islanders cut the deficit to 5-1. But Mason was outstanding and kept the damage to a minimum.

"We sat back and didn't make plays," winger Brayden Schenn said. ". . .We spent the whole period in our own end."

The Islanders, who got third-period goals from Jason Chimera and Andrew Ladd, suffered their third straight defeat. They lost three of the four games against the Flyers this season.

The Flyers, who tied the Islanders with 82 points, will try to extend their winning streak Saturday night against visiting New Jersey, which is 3-0 against Philadelphia this season.

"I think more than anything, everybody is working hard and doing their jobs," Mason said.

@BroadStBull