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At the Rink: Islanders at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers have one of the best power plays in the NHL. With the way the New York Islanders have struggled killing penalties recently, the Flyers will put even more of an emphasis on using the man-advantage to their advantage.

"We've got to create some opportunities on the power play," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "We need to work and skate and get power plays. And when we do have them we have to shoot pucks and make sure we're simple and getting pucks to the net and have traffic there. Just a simple power play; that's when we're effective."

Philadelphia is fourth on the power play (23.4 percent) and second at home (28.1 percent). But the Islanders have been shorthanded the third-fewest times in the League (139), so the Flyers know they will have to play fast and skate hard for any power-play chances.

"It's the only way you can draw penalties really," said Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, fourth in the League with 11 power-play goals. "If you're not moving your feet the refs aren't going to give you the benefit of the doubt. If you're skating all night, if you're getting into hard areas, if you're causing a bit of a ruckus, the refs will give you the benefit of the doubt."

To counteract the Flyers' power-play advantage, Islanders coach Jack Capuano will insert defenseman Brian Strait into the lineup in place of Lubomir Visnovsky.

"Brian is one of our better penalty killers as well, so there's a little thought process as that goes," Capuano said. "... To me he's played well. He deserves it. He's one of those guys that sat at the beginning of the year a little bit."

Strait, a healthy scratch the past two games, said he's excited to get back in the lineup and help a penalty-killing unit that has allowed three power-play goals in seven times shorthanded during the Islanders' three-game losing streak. They also have allowed at least one power-play goal in seven straight games.

"I felt like I was playing some pretty good hockey," Strait said. "I just want to get back to doing the same things I was doing, keeping it simple and hopefully get out there on the penalty kill and kill some penalties."

Whoever is out there killing penalties, Capuano said the talent is in place to be more successful.

"It's not structural," Capuano said. "There's some things we have to look at differently, where the shots are coming from and how they're finding their way through. ... Our discipline is good. It's a matter of getting everything out of your mind, moving forward, and whatever it takes get the job done. We have guys that can do it; we know they can do it.

"It's about execution. We just have to make sure when we have the puck on our stick we get it down 200 feet."

Here are the projected lineups:


Anders Lee - John Tavares - Josh Bailey

Mikhail Grabovski - Frans Nielsen - Nikolay Kulemin

Michael Grabner - Brock Nelson - Ryan Strome

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk

Thomas Hickey - Brian Strait

Jaroslav Halak

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Lubomir Visnovsky, Matt Donovan

Injured: Kyle Okposo (upper body)


Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Ryan White - Scott Laughton - Wayne Simmonds

R.J. Umberger - Sean Couturier - Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Vincent Lecavalier

Nick Schultz - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Luke Schenn

Nicklas Grossmann - Andrew MacDonald

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo

Suspended: Zac Rinaldo

Injured: Kimmo Timonen (blood clot), Braydon Coburn (lower body), Michael Raffl (illness)

Status report: This will be the first time this season Visnovsky has been a healthy scratch. ... Laughton will play after sitting out seven games because of a concussion. The Flyers not having played since Saturday was a big help in his recovery. "That was probably the biggest thing for me, to get back in practices and not have back-to-back games or a game every three days," Laughton said. "It was really nice to have that little break there. Kind of got me in the back of swing of things." ... Grossmann returns after missing 10 games because of a shoulder injury.

Who's hot: Lee had two goals Tuesday against the Florida Panthers to give him 15, tied for third among rookies. ... Del Zotto has three goals and four assists during his six-game point streak.


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