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Game Preview: Islanders at Flyers

The Islanders can pull to within one point of the Flyers with a regulation win in Philadelphia (7 p.m., NBCSN)

by Cory Wright WrightsWay / New York Islanders
New York Islanders (23-18-10) at Philadelphia Flyers (26-21-7)
7 p.m. Wells Fargo Center
TV: NBCSN
Radio: 660AM, 101.9FM - WFAN; 88.7FM - WRHU 

Three points out of a playoff spot with three games in hand, the New York Islanders have played their way into the playoff hunt. 

On Thursday night, they'll face off with the team they're hunting - the Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m., NBCSN)

"It's a huge game, we're excited about it, we're excited about the opportunity," Interim Coach Doug Weight said on Wednesday. "We've put ourselves in a place where these games start to matter and the guys will be ready to go."

A regulation win puts the Islanders one point behind the Flyers, who currently occupy the second Wild Card seed in the Eastern Conference. A loss drops them to five points back, but the Islanders will hold three games in hand regardless of the outcome. 

"It's just as big of a game for them as it is for us," Weight said. "They know they're in one." 

Video: Weight joins the show to discuss the Isles changes

The Flyers have been shut out in two straight games and have lost three of their last four games, but have had the upper hand in head-to-head matchups of late. Philadelphia has won five in a row against the Islanders, though the Isles have taken points in both matchups this season. 

The Islanders are coming off a "feel-good" 6-5 comeback win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night, rallying from three separate deficits to force OT before Brock Nelson's game-winner. Overall, the Islanders are 7-1-2 in their last games. 

"We've had to battle to get where we are and we just want to keep moving forward," Josh Bailey said after practice on Wednesday. "Tomorrow night is a big one for us, obviously, Philly sits three points ahead and these are fun ones to go into. From the time you get to the rink, to puck drop, you're exciting and itching to get the game going and those types of games you look forward." 

Video: TOR@NYI: Nelson wins it in OT with his second goal

NELSON AND STROME STREAKING:

Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome are both riding four-game point streaks heading into Thursday's game. 

Nelson has six points (3G, 3A) over that span, including a three-point night (2G, 1A) against the Leafs on Monday. Strome also has six points (2G, 4A) in his last four. Nelson and Strome have been playing together for nearly all of 2017 and have played with Anthony Beauvillier on their wing over the past three weeks. 

"It's nice, you build some familiarity with the guy, I know him pretty well and he's a great player, makes a lot of plays," Nelson said of playing with Strome. "Easy to play with and he can finish when he has his chances. We've done some good things, but same thing, we have to try to get more." 

CLUTTERBUCK OUT:

Cal Clutterbuck (lower body) did not skate on Wednesday and will not play on Thursday night in Philadelphia. Clutterbuck has missed three of the Islanders past four games. 

FLYERS NOTES:

The Flyers have been shut out in two straight games and have dropped three of their last four overall. The Flyers have been shut out three times in the past nine games and haven't scored more than three goals since Jan. 12. 

Rookie Travis Konecny will be out for four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury. Shayne Gostisbehere has been a healthy scratch for three straight games, but was practicing with the top power-play unit on Wednesday - according to Philly.com - suggesting he could be back in the lineup on Thursday. 

Flyers' coach Dave Hakstol hasn't named a starter for Thursday's game. Michal Neuvirth has started three straight games and four of the Flyers' last five.

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