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GAME PREVIEW: Flyers at Islanders,

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
7:00 pm, FSN; Bloomberg 1130 (pre-games for both at 6:30 pm)

Garth Snow gets the nod as the Islanders go for back-to-back wins against their division rivals the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

"Garth deserves the start, simple as that," Islanders coach Steve Stirling said before today's morning skate. "It has nothing to do with Rick, who's gotten plenty of starts and will continue to. Garth was excellent on Saturday, he is every time I call his name and he plays well against the Flyers. It wasn't a very difficult decision."

With Oleg Kvasha (sprained ankle) doubtful for tonight's game, the Islanders are likely to recall forward Wyatt Smith from Bridgeport. The 28-year old Smith, primarily a center, has 83 games of NHL experience from his time with the Coyotes and the Predators.

Here are your game notes, courtesy of Islanders media relations coordinator Corey Witt.

Welcome to tonight's game as the New York Islanders (12-11-1) host the Philadelphia Flyers (13-6-3) in the second half of a home-and-home series. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:08 pm at the Nassau Coliseum. This is the fourth of eight meetings between the clubs this season and the Flyers currently lead 2-1-0.

This is the Islanders eleventh home game of the season and first game against the Flyers at the Coliseum. All three previous meetings between the clubs this season took place at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

In the 2005-06 season series between the clubs, the Flyers have outshot the Islanders 112 to 80 and have out scored the Islanders 10 to 7. For the Islanders, Garth Snow has started in two of the three games and has a record of 1-1, while Rick DiPietro is 0-1. For the Flyers, Antero Nittymaki has started in two of the three games and has a record of 1-1, while Robert Esche is 1-0. Jason Blake and Patrick Sharp are tied for season series lead in goals with three.

The officiating crew for tonight's game is: Referees Stephane Auger and Kerry Fraser with Linesmen Derek Amell and David Brisebois. Kevin Collins is supervising tonight's game. The crew chief of NHL Off-Ice Officials is Jeff Weintraub.

Tonight's National Anthem singer is Miko Horn.

Locally, the game can be caught on FSN NY with Howie Rose on the play-by-play and Joe Micheletti as the color analyst. On the radio, John Wiedeman and Chris King have the play-by-play and color commentary, respectively, on Bloomberg 1130 AM.

Today's game is the 197th meeting between the Islanders and Flyers. The Islanders trail the all-time series 80-90-26-0, but are 50-33-15-0 against the Flyers at the Nassau Coliseum. The last home win for the Islanders against the Flyers occurred on December 23, 2003 when Garth Snow beat Jeff Hackett 4-2.

So far in 2005-06, the Islanders have dropped two of three games to the Flyers. The first meeting between the clubs was on October 15, which was a 5-1 Flyers win. The second meeting was earlier this month on November 10 and although it was a much tighter game, the Flyers prevailed 3-2. The most recent meeting was last Saturday; a 4-2 Islanders win in Philadelphia.

2005-06 Season Series:
October 15, 2005: Philadelphia 5, Islanders 1
November 10, 2005: Philadelphia 3, Islanders 2
November 26, 2005: Islanders 4, Philadelphia 2
November 29, 2005: At Nassau Coliseum - 7:00 p.m.
February 8, 2006: At Comcast Center - 7:00 p.m.
March 4, 2006: At Nassau Coliseum - 7:00 p.m.
April 2, 2006: At Nassau Coliseum - 1:00 p.m.  

Jason Blake scored his third career hat trick in Saturday afternoon's win in Philadelphia. It was the Islanders first hat trick since Blake scored three goals versus Minnesota on March 19, 2004. Blake's other hat trick was recorded on January 11, 2003 versus Atlanta, a game which he scored a career-high four points.

This is also the best start to a season in Blake's career. Through the first 24 games of the 2002-03 season, Blake had 11 points. That season, he finished with career-highs with 25 goals, 30 assists and 55 points. Currently, Blake is second on the team in goals scored with 11 and in points with 20.

With Shawn Bates expected to miss the next four-to-five weeks with a strained hamstring, the Islanders have placed him on the Injured Reserve list. Bates has missed the Islanders last three games. Rookie center Petteri Nokelainen has been placed on the Injured Reserve retroactive of November 3rd with patella tendonitis. He has missed the last eleven games.

Before sustaining the injury in the final minutes in last Saturday night's win at Florida, Bates was on a hot streak with eight goals (8+1) in the past seven games. He's currently fourth for the team-lead in goals scored with ten and already surpassed his total from 2003-04. The Islanders are 7-0 in games that Bates has scored a goal, 8-0 if his shootout goal is counted. Bates also leads the league in shooting percentage with a mark of 35.7% and leads the team with four game winners (second in the NHL), which includes an overtime tally versus Boston on November 1 at the Coliseum. He also has a shootout goal, which he recorded against the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 14. Overall, Bates has 12 points this season (10+2).

In twelve games, Nokelainen has a goal and an assist with four penalty minutes. He scored his first career NHL goal on October 13 at Washington, which turned out to be the game-winner.

Team captain Alexei Yashin leads the team in scoring with 26 points (11+15) in 24 games. This season, Yashin has recorded a point in 19 of 24 games, eleven of the past fourteen (5+9) and in the last eight of the last nine games (3-9). He's also had five multiple-point games, including last week in Tampa Bay. This is Yashin's second best start since the 2001-02 season, his first as an Islander. That season he finished with 32 goals, 43 assists and 75 points.

This season, he had a season-high seven-game point streak from October 10-25, collecting 11 points (5+6). In addition to his seven-game point streak, Yashin recorded an assist in five consecutive games (October 15-25). The point streak was Yashin's longest since the 2003-04, when he had a nine-game point streak with 13 points (3+10) from November 14-December 3.
The Islanders have a record of 7-6-1 in the month of November. The Islanders will play a total of 14 games this month, six at home and eight on the road. Last season, the Islanders were 5-8-0-0 in November.

Win Loss OTL
Oct. 5 6 0
Nov. 7 5 1

* The Islanders have an overtime victory, two shootout victories and a shootout loss. See below for details.

The Islanders completed their third set of back-to-back games this past weekend, splitting the contests. The club fell to the Ottawa Senators at home on Friday 6-2, but rallied to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers on the road 4-2. The Islanders are scheduled to play 10 sets of back-to-back games during the 2005-06 regular season, four fewer than they had in 2003-04.

The Islanders have a record of 2-1-0 in the first game of back-to-back games and a 2-1-0 record in the second game. The Islanders played 14 back-to-back sets in 2003-04, posting a 13-13-1-1 record in those 28 contests; 8-6-0-0 in the first games of back-to-back sets and 5-7-1-1 in the second games.

The Islanders are 10-5 this season when scoring first and 2-6 when the opposition scores the first goal of the game. In 2003-04, the Islanders had a record 11-23-6-3 when their opponents scored first. They were 27-6-5-1 when they scored the first goal of the game.    

- The Islanders killed off all three Philadelphia power plays on Saturday afternoon.
- They have allowed four power play goals in the last nine games (48 chances).
- Overall, the Islanders have killed off 137 of 165 (83.0%) power play attempts in 24 games this season.
- The Islanders penalty kill is ranked third best in the NHL on the road with a 87.2 penalty kill percentage, while they are ranked 26th at home with a penalty kill percentage of 77.4.
- This season, the Islanders had a streak of 37 consecutive penalty kills, which spanned six complete games and parts of two others. The streak started during the team's game at New Jersey on November 8th and last until the second penalty kill of the team's game vs. Buffalo on November 23rd. Chris Drury scored on the power play for the Sabres at 17:29 of the first period to snap the Islanders consecutive penalty kill streak.
- The Islanders have recorded three shorthanded goals this season. Arron Asham scored a shorthanded goal in the Islanders' 5-4 win over the Rangers on October 20. Earlier in the season, Shawn Bates scored the first shorthanded goal of the season in the Isles' 3-1 win over the Hurricanes on October 8 and Jason Blake scored a shorthanded tally in the Islanders' 5-3 win over Washington on October 13.    

- The Islanders were 1-4 on the power play against Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.
- They have twelve power play goals in the last ten games.
- Overall, the Islanders have scored a power play goal in 17 of 24 games this season.
- They are 25-149 (16.7%) on the man-advantage. Last season, the Islanders recorded at least one power play goal in 38 of 82 games. They had a record of 27-9-3, including a mark of 16-4-1 at home in games that they scored at least one power play goal.  

The Islanders are 5-5-0 at home this season, scoring 32 goals and allowing 37. The last two Islander home wins have come against the Boston Bruins by a combined score of 9-5. The Islanders have three losses at home in November, a 5-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins, a 4-3 decision (F/SO) to the Buffalo Sabres and a 6-2 decision to the Ottawa Senators.

The Islanders defeated the Philadelphia Flyers this past Saturday for their eighth road victory of the season. In 2005-06, the Islanders are 8-7-0 on the road. Last week, the team finished up their second longest road trip of the season, a span of four games, with a 5-3 victory over the Florida Panthers last Saturday night (11/19). They also defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in a shootout last Monday night (11/14) and the Atlanta Thrashers 7-3 last Wednesday night (11/16), while losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 last Thursday night (11/17), the second of a back-to-back.

The Islanders are back on the road later this week when they start a three-game road trip, which will take them to Detroit (12/4), St. Louis (12/6) and Columbus (12/8). The team has a five game road trip in March, which will also take them to Atlanta and both Florida stops as well as Boston and New Jersey. The Islanders are 7-6 on the road so far this season.

Last Wednesday night (11/23), the Islanders lost their first shootout since its inception dropping the decision to the Buffalo Sabres at the Coliseum. Ales Kotalik (determining goal) and Tim Connolly scored against Rick DiPietro, while Alexei Yashin and Jason Blake failed on their attempts for the Islanders. The Islanders are now 2-1 in shootouts.

The Islanders shootout victory over the Penguins on November 14 was the second longest so far in the NHL this season. Eighteen shooters were used by both teams, which at the time set a new standard in the inaugural season for the shootout. Jason Blake netted the determining goal against goaltender Jocelyn Thibault and Islanders' goaltender Rick DiPietro stopped seven of nine Penguin shooters, including rookie Ryan Whitney to seal the win.

It was the team's second shootout win of the season, with the other coming against the New York Rangers in a 3-2 decision at Madison Square Garden on October 19. In that contest, Miroslav Satan scored the only shootout goal against Henrik Lundqvist.

Aaron Asham 1 0 0
Shawn Bates 1 1 0
Jason Blake 2 1 1
Trent Hunter 1 1 0
Robert Nilsson 1 0 0
Mark Parrish 2 0 0
Miroslav Satan 2 1 1
Alexei Yashin 3 0 0
Mike York 1 0 0
TOTALS 12 4 2
Rick DiPietro 10/10 at NYR 3 0      W
11/14 at PIT 9 2      W
11/23 vs. BUF 3 2       L
DiPietro Totals 15 4     2-1

The Islanders have only lost once in 61 games (53 wins, eight ties and one overtime loss in the shootout) when taking a lead into the third period. The Islanders are 9-0-1 this season when leading after two periods. This streak includes wining in overtime (vs. Bruins, Nov. 1) and winning in the shootout twice (at Rangers, Oct. 19 and at Pittsburgh Nov. 14) this season. The only loss occurred in the shootout this past Wednesday night when the Islanders dropped a 4-3 decision to the Buffalo Sabres. During the 2003-04 season, the Islanders were 26-0-5-0 when leading after two periods.

The Islanders have a total attendance of 132,455 after ten games at the Nassau Coliseum, for an average of 13,246 (81.6% capacity) with one sellout.  Last season after seven games at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders had a total attendance of 84,866, an average of 12,266 (79.8% capacity) with one sellout. The seating capacity for the Nassau Coliseum is 16,234.
The Islanders have been outshot, 801-672, through the first 24 games of the 2005-06 season. The Islanders have been outshot in 17 of 24 games this season, including six straight from October 15-27. The Islanders are allowing an average of 33.4 shots per game. They have a record of 9-8 when they have been outshot and have a record of 2-4 in games when they've outshot the opponent. The Islanders recorded a season-high 40 shots, including 20 in the first period at Philadelphia on November 10. The Islanders have also allowed 40 or more shots in a game four times this season and have a record of 2-2. The most recent game was the team's loss to the Ottawa Senators on November 25 versus the Ottawa Senators.
Shawn Bates scored the game-winning goal with 28.2 seconds left in overtime to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins on November 1 at the Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders are 3-1 in overtime/shootout (two shootout victories, one shootout loss) this season and have a lifetime record of 65-60-194 in overtime. Last season, the Islanders had a record of 2-4-11 in overtime.

With Bates and Nokelainen out, the Islanders recalled rookie Center Jeremy Colliton from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL). Colliton was drafted by the Islanders in the second round (58th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Playing in his first career NHL game this past Wednesday night, Colliton played 1:57 on four shifts. On Friday afternoon, Colliton saw an increased role, playing eleven shifts for 7:42 of ice time. With the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League this season, Colliton has tallied four goals and four assists for eight points.

In the Islanders 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night, two impressive streaks were snapped. In the first period, Buffalo scored a power play goal, which was the first tally the Islanders allowed with the opposition on the man advantage in six complete games and 37 total chances. The other streak was victories with the lead after two periods. Before Wednesday night, the Islanders were unbeaten in 61 games (53-0-8) when taking a lead into the third period. The streak was the longest in the NHL. The streak began on December 28, 2002 with a 3-0 win vs. Carolina.  

- Jason Blake is eight games away from his 300th as an Islander.
- Eric Godard's next goal will be his first NHL goal.
- Oleg Kvasha is eight points away from his 200th NHL point.
- Brad Lukowich is three games away from his 400th NHL game.
- Mark Parrish is one goal away from his 150th NHL goal.
- Mark Parrish is one goal away from his 100th as an Islander.
- Miroslav Satan is eight power play goals away from his 100th NHL power play goal.
- Alexei Yashin is nine points away from his 700th NHL point.
- Mike York is three games away from his 400th NHL game.

- Chris Campoli, Robert Nilsson and Petteri Nokelainen each played in their first NHL game on October 5th, 2005 at Buffalo.
- Chris Campoli scored his first NHL goal/point on his first NHL shot on October 5th, 2005 at Buffalo.
- Petteri Nokelainen scored his first NHL goal on October 13th at Washington.
- Robert Nilsson scored his first NHL goal vs. Buffalo on October 29.
- Alexei Yashin scored his 300th career NHL goal on November 14th at Pittsburgh.
- Alexei Zhitnik played in his 900th NHL career game on November 14th at Pittsburgh.
- Jeremy Colliton played in his first NHL game on November 23rd vs. Buffalo.
- Arron Asham played in his 300th NHL game on November 25th vs. Ottawa.
- Rick DiPietro played in his 100th NHL game on November 25th vs. Ottawa.
- Alexei Yashin scored his 200th point as an Islander on November 26th at Philadelphia.

Islanders' captain Alexei Yashin recorded his 200th point as an Islander in Saturday's 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. He hit the milestone with an assist on Jason Blake's first period goal. This is Yashin's fourth season as an Islander.

Islanders' goaltender played in his 100th NHL career game in Friday's loss to the Ottawa Senators. He stopped 39 of 45 shots in the losing effort. He was the first goaltender to be selected with the No. 1 overall draft selection in 2000. He made his NHL debut on January 27, 2001 vs. Buffalo and earned his first win on February 16, 2001 at Edmonton. This is his fifth NHL season, all played with the Islanders.

Islanders' captain Alexei Yashin scored his 300th NHL career goal on November 14th at Pittsburgh. Brad Lukowich and Janne Niinimaa were credited with the assists on the second period goal. The tally was Yashin's 82nd as an Islander. He scored 218 as a member of the Ottawa Senators.  

Wednesday, November 30: Islanders Iceworks, 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 1: Islanders Iceworks, 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Friday, December 2: Islanders Iceworks, 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 
Sunday, December 4: Game day skate at Joe Louis Arena, 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Monday, December 5: TBD
Tuesday, December 6: Game day skate at Savvis Center, 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Wednesday, December 7: TDB
Thursday, December 8: Game day skate at Nationwide Arena, 11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

NEXT 10 GAMES (all times Eastern)
Tuesday, November 29 vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Sunday, December 4 at Detroit, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, December 6 at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Thursday, December 8 at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 10 vs. Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, December 13 vs. Minnesota, 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 17 vs. Colorado, 7 p.m.
Monday, December 19 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 21 vs. New Jersey, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, December 23 vs. Ottawa, 7:00 p.m.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers dropped a 4-3 decision in overtime on the road to the Philadelphia Phantoms on Saturday. The game took place just hours after the Islanders defeated Philadelphia Flyers on the same Wachovia Center ice. Travis Brigley, Bruno Gervais and Jeremy Colliton, who had been returned to the Sound Tigers from the Islanders just before the game, scored for Bridgeport. Sound Tigers goaltender Chris Madden made 28 of 32 save attempts. Freddy Meyer scored the game-winning goal for Philadelphia.  

The Sound Tigers will finish a stretch of four straight road games when they visit the Hershey Bears on Wednesday, November 30th at 7 pm and the Lowell Lock Monsters on Friday, December 1st at 7:35 pm. The Sound Tigers' next set of home games at Bridgeport's Arena at Harbor Yard will be next Saturday and Sunday, December 3rd and 4th when they will host the Phantoms Saturday at 7:05 pm and the Hartford Wolf Pack Sunday at 4:05 pm, respectively. All Sound Tigers games are web-cast live at Fans can also watch all games live on the B2 Networks.


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