NEW YORK - For the first time in 25 days, Michal Neuvirth was in the net as the Flyers finished their regular season Sunday night against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center.

Neuvirth, who had been sidelined by a knee injury, got a start to get some of the rust off in case he is needed in the playoffs.

The Czech Republic native wasn't tested much, however, as the Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit and defeated the tank-happy Islanders, 5-2, as Michael Raffl collected a goal and two assists.

The Flyers finished 41-27-14 for 96 points, a 12-point improvement over last year (33-31-18).

Neuvirth faced just 17 shots from an Islanders team that sat seven regulars.

Still, he said it was beneficial for him.

"Not a lot of work, but obviously a game is different than practice," he said. "It's definitely going to help, big-time."

With the loss, the Isles got what they apparently wanted: a first-round matchup with upstart Florida. If the Islanders had won, they would have played sizzling Pittsburgh.

The Flyers will try to upset mighty Washington in the first round, and they are counting on workhorse goalie Steve Mason to continue the superb play that carried the team to a playoff berth.

Can the Flyers jolt the best-in-the-NHL Capitals?

"Oh, it can be done, for sure," general manager Ron Hextall said Sunday after the first period. "They're the best team in the league, but we have to play our game."

Hextall said you can't look at the seven-game playoff series or the four games the teams played in the regular season, when they split.

"You've got to just look at the first game" of the playoffs, Hextall said. "We're going to Washington, and we need to play the way we're capable of playing and play the right way."

The Flyers finished on a 26-12-7 run.

"If you look at our second half, our character, our grit, our team really pulled together," Hextall said. "I wouldn't call that a surprise. I'd call it an expectation. Our guys did a good job, certainly, of pulling together."

In Sunday's game, the Flyers ended an 0-for-13 power-play funk - yes, they must be much better to stay with Washington - as Shayne Gostisbehere scored on a point drive with 8 minutes, 45 seconds left in the first. Gostisbehere, who ended a 13-game drought without a goal, finished with 17 goals, a record for a Flyers rookie defenseman. He was the first NHL rookie defenseman to score 17 goals since Dion Phaneuf in 2005-06.

Evgeny Medvedev also added a power-play goal, scoring with eight seconds left in the first, and Raffl's 13th goal gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead in the second.

The game was meaningless to the Flyers, who rested many veterans because they clinched the Eastern Conference's final wild-card spot with a 3-1 win Saturday over Pittsburgh.

It was also meaningless to the Islanders, based on the lineup used by coach Jack Capuano. He sat John Tavares (33 goals), Kyle Okposo (22), Frans Nielsen (20), and defenseman Johnny Boychuk, among others, apparently because he figured it would give the Isles a better chance to lose and face Florida.

"Exhibition games are more intense than that," said Brayden Schenn (two assists), noting that no one wanted to get hurt with the playoffs around the corner.

The Flyers also had an odd-looking lineup as they rested Claude Giroux; Wayne Simmonds; Sean Couturier; and their iron man, Mason, who had started the previous 12 games.

Jordan Weal played for the first time since Feb. 13 and centered the top line between Jake Voracek and R.J. Umberger, who scored his second goal, a power-play tally, in 39 games this season.

Scott Laughton, a healthy scratch in eight of the previous nine games, centered the second line, which included Raffl and Schenn. Laughton's first goal in his last 13 games gave the Flyers a 4-2 lead in the third.

Medvedev returned to the lineup and gave the 38-year-old Streit a breather before the playoffs.

The Flyers will be facing a Capitals team that led the league with a goal differential of (gulp) plus-59. The Flyers finished with a minus-4 differential.

scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull