FLYERS (25-12-4) at ISLANDERS (15-19-6)
TV: CSN-Philadelphia; MSG PLUS
LAST 10 : Philadelphia 5-4-1; New York 5-5-0
Season Series: It's the second of six meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals. Philadelphia overcame a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3 at the Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 23, the Flyers' fourth straight win on Long Island.
Big Story: Two days after continuing their dominance of one NHL powerhouse, the Islanders try to figure out a way to derail another that has had their number during the past 4 1/2 seasons.
Flyers: For the second time in as many games, the Flyers will try to pad their points total by beating up on one of the Eastern Conference's weaklings -- one that they've beaten in 22 of their last 23 meetings.
They come to Long Island off a 2-1 win at Carolina on Tuesday in which rookie Sean Couturier scored the game-winner early in the third period. Couturier, the eighth player chosen in the NHL Draft last June, is one of 11 rookies who has seen action this season. The kids are a big reason the Flyers have the third-best record in the East despite a raft of injuries during the first half of the season.
"If it wasn't for all of the rookies playing as big of a role as they have, there's not a chance we would be where we are now in the standings," 14-year veteran forward Danny Briere told the Flyers' website. "You always hope and expect one of them to break through but to have as many as we've had it's looking very positive for the future."
Islanders : After back-to-back losses at Anaheim and Phoenix, the Islanders came home and extended their strange hex over Detroit, routing the Wings 5-1 on Tuesday night. The Isles have five wins and an overtime loss in their last six games against the Wings since 2005-06; they are the only team that hasn't lost to the Wings in regulation during that span.
For whatever reason, the Isles have had the Wings' number
"We know we have to raise our game and play at our best to compete with them," center John Tavares said. "We played them hard, we knew they were playing their third in four nights and tried to jump on them and hopefully wear them out."
The line of Tavares between Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo is driving the Isles' offense. They produced four goals and eight points against Detroit and are dangerous any time they hit the ice.
"Kyle's a big, strong forward and Johnny's been playing some great hockey, probably some of the best I've seen him play," Moulson said of his line's success. "Those two guys are going and I just pick up some of the garbage I guess."
Who's Hot: Couturier has goals in back-to-back games. … Tavares has 12 points during a six-game scoring streak. Moulson has four goals and eight points in the Isles' last five games.
Injury Report: The Flyers are still without defenseman Chris Pronger (concussion), who's gone for the rest of the season, but are otherwise healthy. … The Islanders lost center Marty Reasoner with a broken right hand last Friday. Two concussion victims, goaltender Al Montoya and forward David Ullstrom, are skating again; Ullstrom could be sent to the minors for conditioning. Defenseman Mike Mottau is also out with a concussion, and goaltender Rick DiPietro's absence due to a groin injury is in its sixth week and counting.
Stat Pack: No Flyer has tormented the Islanders as much as Briere, who had the OT winner on Thanksgiving Eve and has 12 goals and 24 points in his last 19 games against the Isles. Don't be surprised if Sergei Bobrovsky plays goal -- he is 6-0-0 with a 1.84 GAA against New York. … New York is 1-17-5 against Philadelphia since the end of the 2006-07 season. Moulson, signed as a minor-league free agent in the summer of 2009, has reached the 20-goal mark for the third straight season -- he's the first Islander to do so since Jason Blake, whose run of four straight 20-goal seasons ended with a 40-goal performance in 2006-07.
Puck Drop: Flyers center Claude Giroux is already a star on the ice -- and he's quickly becoming one off it as well. Giroux joined the world of Twitter (@28CGiroux) on Tuesday; according to the Flyers' website, he picked up more than 50,000 followers in his first day.
"It's pretty cool," he told the site. "I didn't know what to expect and I'm new to the whole thing."
According to the Flyers, Giroux still has some work to do to catch team leader James van Riemsdyk (@JVReemer2), who has more than 65,000 followers.