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Bryz brings long shutout streak into Flyers-Islanders

by Adam Kimelman
FLYERS (40-22-7) at ISLANDERS (28-31-11)


Last 10:
Philadelphia 7-3-0; New York 3-4-3

Season Series:
This is the sixth and final regular-season meeting between the Atlantic Division rivals. The Flyers have won three of the previous five games, including both matchups at Nassau Coliseum. In their most recent game, Matt Read had a pair of goals and an assist as the Flyers won 6-3 in Philadelphia on March 1.

Big Story:
How far will Ilya Bryzgalov be able to stretch his shutout streak? The Philadelphia goalie has three straight shutouts and a scoreless streak of 196:13.

Team Scope:

Flyers: Danny Briere has been a pretty consistent goal-scorer during his NHL career, so going 23 games without putting the puck in the net had started to give him a crisis of confidence.

Briere said a pep talk from coach Peter Laviolette put him in a good state of mind heading into Tuesday's game, when he scored an empty-net goal in the third-period of the Flyers' 3-0 victory.

"Peter and I had a pretty good talk yesterday," Briere said. "He gave me a lot of confidence with the talk we had. I have to give him a lot of credit for the way he made me feel coming into tonight's game."

Briere also made sure he thanked linemate Jakub Voracek, who passed up a goal of his own so Briere could score.

"I had no clue (the Devils' net was empty) until Jake got the puck and he rushed it out of the zone," Briere said. "Just by the reaction of the crowd, I knew there was something going on and I looked up and there was no goalie. That's when I realized. All I was thinking was try to get open for him. I had the feeling, knowing Jake, he's going to try to get me out of the slump, so I owe him a dinner at least."

Islanders: The Islanders have held a lead entering the third period 24 times this season; they've only come away with a victory 15 times. Their nine losses -- one in regulation, eight times in overtime or a shootout -- are the most in the League.

Their most recent loss came Tuesday, when they took a 4-2 lead into the final 20 minutes against the Capitals, only to surrender two goals in the third and lose on Matt Hendricks' shootout winner.

It marked the third straight game the Isles have lost when they held a lead in the third.

"For whatever reason, we've changed the way we play in the third period," defenseman Andrew MacDonald told Newsday. "It's frustrating."

Who's Hot:
Bryzgalov's 17 save shutout Tuesday against the Devils was his third straight, tying John Vanbiesbrouck's team record. He's also just over one period away from breaking the team's all-time consecutive shutout streak of 227:40, also held by Vanbiesbrouck. … Islanders center John Tavares has 4 goals and 2 assists in his last three games.

Injury Report:
Islanders forward PA Parenteau sat out Tuesday and is questionable for Thursday's game due to an upper-body injury. … The Flyers likely will be without defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who has missed the last six games due to a lower-body injury. Defenseman Pavel Kubina is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Stat Pack: Tavares is two points from becoming the fourth Islander to have at least 71 points in a season at age 21 or younger. The others are Hockey Hall of Famers Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier and Denis Potvin.

Puck Drop: The Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has named Jaromir Jagr as its nominee for the 2012 Masterton Trophy. The award is given annually to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.

In his return to the NHL after three seasons in Russia, Jagr, 40, has played on the top line for most of the season, and has totaled 18 goals and 28 assists in 60 games.

As well as he's played on the ice, he's been just as important off of it.

"He's a great guy in the locker room, he's a lot of fun to be around," Voracek told "He's still showing he can play at the top level in the NHL at 40. Only a few guys can do it. That's why he's so special."

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