Flyers aim to continue recent mastery of Islanders
Thursday, 02.24.2011 / 7:00 PMISLANDERS (23-31-7) at FLYERS (39-15-6)
TV -- MSG PLUS (HD), CSN-PH (HD)
Last 10 --
New York 7-3-0; Philadelphia 6-3-1
Season series --
Fourth of six meetings this season between these Atlantic Division rivals. The Flyers have continued their recent dominance of the Islanders with victories of 6-1 in Philadelphia and 2-1 and 3-2 on Long Island this season. Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky
was in goal for all three games for the Flyers and Andreas Nodl
has struck for 3 goals in the series.
Big story --
Philadelphia has won 18 of the last 19 games in this series. The Flyers are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the red-hot Phoenix Coyotes but remain atop the Eastern Conference with 84 points -- nine ahead of second-seeded Tampa Bay. The Islanders, meanwhile, are still mathematically in the playoff hunt after winning six of their last eight games. The Isles are 12 points behind eighth-seeded Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot with 21 games remaining.
New York suffered its fourth loss in 12 games to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, 2-1 at Air Canada Centre, despite Matt Moulson
's sixth goal in three games. The Islanders entered the game with a nine-game streak of scoring three or more goals, the team's longest since 1994. The game was tied 1-1 until Toronto's Phil Kessel beat Al Montoya
with less than five minutes remaining in the third period.
"I don't think we worked as hard as we could," Moulson said. "That's basically it. You're not going to have great plays every single power play, but you have to work. All of us, I don't know if we worked as hard as we could have."
The Flyers failed to win when leading after the first period for just the second time this season in 23 occasions (21-1-1) on Tuesday following their 3-2 overtime setback to the Coyotes. Claude Giroux
connected for his 19th point (5 goals, 14 assists) over the last 17 games with just 1:13 remaining in regulation to send the game into OT before Phoenix captain Shane Doan ended the suspense in the extra period.
"I thought maybe in the third we came out a little bit flat after they scored that goal (to tie the game 1-1)," coach Peter Laviolette said. "For the most part, I think we fired 75-to-80 shots on the net and we hit the pipe a bunch. It was just one of those nights where it wasn't going in. You can't seem to get it or put it away. You feel like you earned two and your lucky to get one."
Who's hot --
Flyers center Jeff Carter has 7 goals and 13 points in his last 12 games, and 10 goals and 16 points in the last 17 contests. … Montoya is 3-1 with a 1.42 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in five appearances since the Islanders acquired him in a trade from the Coyotes.
Injury report --
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren informed the media on Tuesday night that defenseman Sean O'Donnell (knee), initially thought to be lost for 10-14 days, now is probable against the Islanders. Defenseman Oskars Bartulis
(upper body), meanwhile, was scheduled for an MRI on Wednesday and is doubtful. … The Islanders are without Rick DiPietro
(facial fractures, knee swelling), Kevin Poulin
(knee), Mark Streit
(shoulder), Mike Mottau
(hip), Mark Eaton
(hip), Jeremy Colliton
(rib), Doug Weight (back) and Trent Hunter (knee).
Stat pack --
Flyers right wing Nikolay Zherdev is sixth on the club with 15 goals but has been a healthy scratch for six straight games and has not played since Feb. 10.
Puck drop --
Flyers center Mike Richards, who is slowly gaining weight back from three days with a stomach virus, knows it's only a matter of time before he and new linemate Kris Versteeg begin to click.
"I'm not exactly playing my best hockey right now so I'm sure he's maybe a little bit frustrated," Richards said. "We're finding each other, were learning where each other are on the ice a little bit more. I think as the games go on I think we'll get more familiar with each other and start making more plays and start putting the puck in the net a little bit more. But right now I think it's more a learning process getting used to playing with each other."