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New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
Team Record: 5-10-3

Last Game: 5-0 L vs. PIT
Season Series: 0-0-0 of 6
Team Record: 11-6-3
Last Game: 4-2 L vs. CAR
Season Series: 0-0-0 of 6
Micheal Haley
Following Tuesday’s practice at Nassau Coliseum, Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano told the media he had a meeting with General Manager Garth Snow. In that meeting, he expressed the desire to make changes that  would help light a fire under his team. He would not go into specifics of that conversation, but a move was made, and  forward Micheal Haley was recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

In 16 games for the Sound Tigers this season, Haley scored one goal and two assists and recorded 32 penalty minutes. Haley was with the Islanders in the second-half of last season, where the Islanders recorded the best record in the league post-All-Star Break.

Beginning with his call-up against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 11, where he scored his first NHL goal and earned 39 penalty minutes, Haley played in 27 games for the Islanders last season. Known for his physical play with and without the puck, the 25-year-old centerman was called up in hopes of evoking more passion from his teammates.
Matt Read
Currently on a five-game goal and point streak, posting 6 goals and one assist, Read has proven to be a worthwhile acquisition for the Flyers. Though he's just fifth on the Flyers' scoring leaderboard in 17 games this season, the right wing is now at the top of the league's rookie scoring with nine goals and third amongst rookies with 14 points.

Undrafted, the 25-year-old rookie signed with the Flyers as a free agent this past March, after completing his senior season at Bemidji State University, a NCAA Division 1 hockey program. In four years at BSU, Read set school records in games played (147), goals (65), assists (78) and points (143).

“I don’t know if it’s a surprise, but he’s certainly come up here and made the most of his opportunity to a point where he’s relied on as a multifunctional player,” Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette said after their morning skate. “When you have players like that on the bench, they’re a real positive for your team. Different roles, different lines, defensively, offensively, different positions and he’s a good kid too.”
Dropping two straight games to a shutout wasn’t the way the Islanders wanted to play coming off their 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens last week, but that’s the way it played out. Now, their current predicament has Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano searching for answers. Changes began late Tuesday night as forward Micheal Haley was recalled from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

“We have to add a grit element to our game, we have to add some guys that are going to be vocal,” Capuano said. “When you go through a stretch like this, change is good.”

Capuano believes the lack of scoring has become a mental game so adding Haley to the roster may just help inspire that fire and that passion that he’s been looking for.

When it comes to his preparation for games, the Isles Head Coach said, “I can’t worry about the streak.”

He continued, “Pittsburgh was 11-6-3 going into that game, six more wins than us. We still have to have that mentality where we respect our opponent, but don’t fear anybody. I thought last night after the first period there was a lull (in our game) again. I think when they get into the penalty trouble like we did last night the momentum can shift in a hurry. So discipline is key to our game.”

What the Islanders need to realize, is that they can’t let one or two goals from the opposition get them down and put them in a fragile state, but Islanders forward John Tavares said it’s hard to combat those feelings when you’re in this situation.

“It can be real frustrating, can feel like everything is going the wrong way, but you have to go out there and try to earn your luck and earn your bounces,” Tavares said. “We have to have that drive as a team, not just individually, but as a team where we are pushing each other to be better, finding a way to get ourselves back in a game and giving ourselves a chance.”

However, Tavares believes that they’ll overcome this obstacle.

“Once we start doing those things, things will start turning and it’ll get a lot easier and obviously be a lot more fun,” Tavares said. “Because this isn’t that much fun and isn’t as enjoyable and what you work hard all summer, all training camp, to come to the regular season to have a tough start like we’ve had.”
Season series: This is the first of six games between the Atlantic Division rivals. Philadelphia swept the six-game series last season, capped by a 7-4 home victory that closed the regular season and clinched the Atlantic Division title for the Flyers. Three of the games were one-goal affairs, while three others were decided by at least three goals.

Big Story: Both teams are hoping to snap a losing skid to make for a happy holiday. The Flyers have lost two straight, while the Isles have just one win in their last seven and have been shut out 6-0 by Boston and 5-0 at Pittburgh in their last two games.

Team Scope:
Philadelphia could get one of its two hurting veteran leaders back for this one. Defenseman and team captain Chris Pronger remains day to day due to a virus and did not make the trip to Long Island with his teammates on Tuesday, but forward Jaromir Jagr, who has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury believed to be a groin strain, practiced with the team Tuesday and said he would decide Wednesday if he would be healthy enough to play. He credited acupuncture for helping him heal quicker.

"Today we had some game drills and it didn't bother me," Jagr told reporters. "I didn't go 100 percent. I don't want to do anything stupid and not be able to skate (Wednesday). And I have an extra 1.5 days to heal it. After four or five days it moves kind of quick." (Continue Reading)

The Islanders and Flyers last met in the clubs’ final regular season game on April 9, 2011. After falling behind by a two goal deficit (Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell), Michael Grabner and Travis Hamonic scored to level the field. Danny Briere recaptured the lead 19 seconds after Hamonic’s tying goal, but John Tavares would close out the opening period to tie the score at three. PA Parenteau would give the Islanders a short-lived lead scoring a power play goal at 53 seconds of the second period, but Hartnell would score his second of the night before Andrej Meszaros and Daniel Powe continued the Flyers scoring for a 7-4 win.
- Mark Katic - Shoulder (9/24 vs. NJ) - 18 games missed (Out indefinitely)

- Evgeni Nabokov - Groin (11/17) - 2 games missed (Out indefinitely)

- Al Montoya - Hamstring (11/15) - 4 games missed (Day-to-day)

- Mark Eaton - Knee (11/21) - 0 games missed (6 weeks)
Power Play %: 15.2%
Penalty Kill %: 80.3%
Home Record: 5-5-1
Road Record: 0-5-2
Goals For: 35
Goals Against: 61
Power Play %: 18.4%
Penalty Kill %: 83.7%
Home Record: 5-4-2
Road Record: 6-2-1
Goals For: 73
Goals Against: 62
(Answer from 11/21: Ed Westfall. The Islanders completed the comeback on April 26, 1975 beating the Penguins 1-0. Westfall would score at 14:42 of the third period to seal the deal.)
Check out the Islanders depth chart. Brian Rolston (sick), Marty Reasoner (healthy) and Nino Niederreiter (healthy) will be scratched. Rick DiPietro is in net, Anders Nilsson is backing up.

Flyers (Expected) Lineups
Forwards: Hartnell-Giroux-Jagr/Voracek, van Riemsdyk-Briere-Read, Simmonds-Talbot-Voracek/Nodl, Zolnierczyk-Couturier-Rinaldo

Timonen-Coburn, Carle-Bourdon, Lilja-Meszaros

Bryzgalov, Bobrovsky

Expected Scratches:

Jagr is game-time decision

Islanders center John Tavares: "Whether things go our way or not, we are facing adversity. We have to have that emotion, that drive to compete, the will to win. And I’m not saying we don’t have it, but when things haven’t been going our way, it seems like we haven’t been handling it as well. We have the right group in here and a really close team, we just have to make sure that whatever happens out there, that we don’t lose our game plan. We must have that drive to be successful. It’s tough when we are playing every other day and are trying to find answers to turn things around, so we have to make sure that we stick with it and keep working hard. Staying positive and staying together as a team, we’ll be able to bring that to that emotion and that will to win."

Cory Wright contributed to this report
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