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GAME PREVIEW

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

(1:00 p.m. ET, TV: FSN NY | Radio: Bloomberg 1130) The Islanders continue their playoff drive against Simon Gagne and the Philadelphia Flyers in a matinee showdown at the Wachovia Center.

When things were looking bleak for the Islanders, having earned one point in four games on the road over the past couple of weeks, they put in one of their best efforts in months against a highly competitive Pittsburgh Penguins team on Tuesday night.

Rick DiPietro earned the First Star of the Game by stopping 35 of 36 shots for his 31st win of the season - a career high. He turned aside an incredible 15 shots in the first period.

Offensively, Trent Hunter, Jason Blake and Viktor Kozlov tallied goals for an Islanders team that rests in tenth place, one point out of a playoff spot. Miroslav Satan also chipped in with two assists. For Kozlov, the goal was his 22nd - tied for his career high.

The win for the Islanders snapped a four-game losing streak and put them right back into playoff contention with only nine games remaining.

While the Islanders are in a fight to reach the playoffs, the Flyers are close to clinching the last spot in the NHL standings. In their past six games, the Flyers have lost five contests, including their 5-0 falter to the Rangers on Wednesday.

The Islanders will try for their fourth win in a row against Philadelphia. Their last meeting saw the Islanders squeak out a 6-5 overtime win at the Coliseum behind three Blake goals.

After taking a 5-2 lead, Philadelphia fought back to force overtime. In the extra session, Hunter scored on the power play off a Mike Sillinger feed to secure the victory for the Islanders back on February 27th.

The Islanders will hope for a similar result today to keep up with the Eastern Conference playoff pack.

Chris King and Steve Mears have the call on Bloomberg Radio 1130, while Howie Rose and Billy Jaffe can be seen tonight on FSN NY.


BELOW ARE CHANNEL LISTINGS FOR FSN NY ON LONG ISLAND
CABLEVISION:

FSN NY: 72

DirecTV:
FSN NY: 624

DISH NETWORK:
FSN NY: 413

HDTV:
FSN NY: 725


GAME NOTES

STANDINGS:
Islanders
- 81 points, 4th place, Atlantic Division
Philadelphia - 51 points, 5th place, Atlantic Division

TEAM LEADERS:
Islanders
- Jason Blake, 36 goals; Mike Sillinger, 31 assists; Ryan Smyth, 65 points; Brendan Witt, 125 PIM
Philadelphia - Simon Gagne, 37 goals, 56 points; Joni Pitkanen, 35 assists; Ben Eager, 181 PIM

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Islanders
- Power play: 17.4 percent. Penalty killing: 81.7 percent
Philadelphia - Power play: 14.1 percent. Penalty killing: 85.3 percent

GOALTENDERS:
Islanders
- Rick DiPietro (31-19-8, 2.59 GAA, .919 SV%); Mike Dunham (4-8-3, 3.49, .896)
Philadelphia - Antero Niittymaki (9-28-9, 3.41, .894); Robert Esche (5-9-1, 4.32, .872)

2006-07 SEASON SERIES
Islanders: 4-2-0

LAST MEETING:
January 27, 2007 at the Nassau Coliseum: 6-5 Islanders win

HOME/ROAD RECORDS:
Philadelphia
- 8-20-7 at home
Islanders -15-16-6 on the road


ISLANDERS
Goaltenders
1   Mike Dunham
39 Rick DiPietro

Defensemen
3   Tom Poti
6   Sean Hill
14 Chris Campoli
32 Brendan Witt
44 Freddy Meyer
47 Marc-Andre Bergeron

Forwards
7   Trent Hunter
10 Richard Park 
11 Andy Hilbert
18 Mike Sillinger
20 Richard Zednik
25 Viktor Kozlov
27 Randy Robitaille
45 Arron Asham
55 Jason Blake
79 Alexei Yashin
81 Miroslav Satan
94 Ryan Smyth


PHILADELPHIA
Goaltenders
30 Antero Niittymaki
40 Robert Esche
43 Martin Biron

Defensemen
2   Derian Hatcher
5   Braydon Coburn
6   Randy Jones
23 Denis Gauthier
28 Lasse Kukkonen
44 Joni Pitkanen
45 Alexandre Picard

Forwards
8   Geoff Sanderson
9   Scottie Upshall
11 Ryan Potulny
12 Simon Gagne
14 Denis Hamel
15 Stefan Ruzicka
17 Jeff Carter
18 Mike Richards
20 R.J. Umberger
24 Sami Kapanen
27 Dimitry Afanasenkov
33 Riley Cote
55 Ben Eager
61 Mike York

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