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Game Preview: Islanders at Flyers

by Jacob Betzner / New York Islanders
Looking to snap a three-game losing streak, the New York Islanders hit the road for a three-game road trip that opens tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers at 7 p.m.


The Islanders focused on their penalty kill at Wednesday’s practice, as the team’s shorthanded unit gave up the game-winning goal Tuesday night. The Islanders PK, which has surrendered nine goals in its last 19 chances, will need to tighten up against the Flyers fourth-ranked power play, currently converting at 23.4 percent.

“For the most part, where we’re giving the shots up from, we’re not really going to change our mindset,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “Our goalies know where [shots] are going to come from. We just have to be a little bit stronger in front of our own net.”

One positive takeaway from Tuesday’s game was forward Anders Lee who scored two goals and debuted on a line with John Tavares and Josh Bailey. Capuano said Lee brings an element to the line that should create headaches for the opposition.

“You’re talking about a guy that’s going to go to the net and he proved it on his second goal,” Capuano said. “You have a couple skilled guys with [Tavares] and [Bailey], but they realize what [Lee’s] strength is; that’s his play down low, protecting the puck and being a big body in front of the net.”

With several physical tests coming up on the road trip, Lee, a former high school football standout in Minnesota, compared his style of play to lining up on the gridiron.

“Some of these bigger teams, they’re going to be physical in the corners, physical all over the ice. It’s part of a battle,” he said. “It’s like the line of scrimmage and something you want to have control of.”

The Flyers are looking to extend a five-game winning streak and avenge two previous losses to the Islanders so far this season. The Islanders won the first two games, both at the Coliseum, in very different fashions.

In a 1-0 shootout win on Nov. 24, Jaroslav Halak stopped 21 shots in regulation and both shooters in the shootout, including a highlight-reel glove save on Flyers captain Claude Giroux. On Jan. 19, Nikolay Kulemin found the back of the net twice in a 7-4 win.

The Flyers are well-rested, having not played since Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Goaltender Steve Mason stopped 30 shots in the shutout win, improving to 3-0 since returning from injury. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto is also hot, scoring Saturday’s only goal to extend his point streak to six games.

Jakub Voracek leads the Flyers and the NHL with 58 points and 41 assists while Giroux checks in at fifth in the NHL with 52 points and fourth with 36 assists.

Puck drop is at 7 p.m.

New York Islanders
32-17-1 (65 points – 2nd in Metropolitan Division, 5th in Eastern Conference)
15-11-1 road
Philadelphia Flyers
22-22-7 (51 points - 5th in Metropolitan Division, 10th in Eastern Conference)
15-7-3 home
7:00  p.m.
Wells Fargo Center

Philadelphia, PA

Television:
MSG+
Play-by-play: Howie Rose
; Color: Butch Goring
Channel Finder

Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, LI News Radio 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Chris King
Islanders News:
- Panthers 4, Islanders 2 (Feb. 3)
- The Skinny (Jan. 17)

- Isles TV: Boychuk, Capuano, Lee, Tavares (Feb. 3)
Islanders player to watch
Anders Lee - Forward

With six goals in his last nine games, Anders Lee now has 15 tallies this season, tying Johnny Gaudreau for third in rookie goal scoring. Lee trails Filip Forsberg (Nashville) and Mike Hoffman (Ottawa) by two goals for the lead among NHL rookies. Lee is tied for second in Islanders goal scoring and has 20 points this season.
Flyers player to watch
Michael Del Zotto - Defense

Michael Del Zotto scored the only goal the Flyers needed in a 1-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and now has seven points in the last six games (three goals, four assists).  Del Zotto has 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 39 games this season for the Flyers, surpassing his output in 77 games last season with the Rangers and Predators.
New York Islanders previous game lines
Forwards
27 Anders Lee
91 John Tavares 12 Josh Bailey
84 Mikhail Grabovski 51 Frans Nielsen86 Nikolay Kulemin
40 Michael Grabner
29 Brock Nelson 18 Ryan Strome
17 Matt Martin
– 
53 Casey Cizikas 15 Cal Clutterbuck

Defensemen

2 Nick Leddy 55 Johnny Boychuk
44 Calvin de Haan
3 Travis Hamonic
14 Thomas Hickey – 11 Lubomir Visnovsky

Goaltenders
41 Jaroslav Halak
30 Chad Johnson
Philadelphia Flyers previous game lines
Forwards
10 Brayden Schenn - 28 Claude Giroux - 93 Jakub Voracek
25 Ryan White - 49 Scott Laughton - 17 Wayne Simmonds
18 R.J. Umberger - 14 Sean Couturier - 24 Matt Read
76 Chris VandeVelde - 78 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 40 Vincent Lecavalier

Defensemen:
55 Nick Schultz - 32 Mark Streit
47 Andrew MacDonald - 8 Nicklas Grossmann
15 Michael Del Zotto - 22 Luke Schenn

Goaltenders
35 Steve Mason
29 Ray Emery


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