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Flyers try to extend domination of Islanders

by Adam Kimelman

FLYERS (11-6-3) at ISLANDERS (5-10-3)

TV: CSN-Philadelphia, MSG PLUS

Last 10:- Philadelphia 6-2-2; New York 2-6-2

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:

Flyers: 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."

Islanders: While most eyes were focused on Sidney Crosby's return to the NHL from a 10-month, concussion-induced hiatus, Islanders coach Jack Capuano was watching his own players, and despite the 5-0 loss Monday, he found at least one positive -- the NHL debut of David Ullstrom.

A 2008 fourth-round pick, Ullstrom had two shots, four hits and won two of three faceoffs in 13:30 of ice time spread across 18 shifts. At the time of his recall, Ullstrom was tied for the American Hockey League lead with 12 goals.

After the game, Capuano singled out Ullstrom for a strong effort.

"We had some guys (Monday) that gave a good effort," Capuano told the team's website. "I liked the effort from David Ullstrom and Matty Martin, they had close to 15 hits between just the two guys, so I was real pleased with David's game tonight and his effort."

Who's Hot: Islanders star center John Tavares hasn't scored a point in his last two games, but seeing the Flyers could fix that. He's scoring at a point-per-game clip in five games against Atlantic Division foes, and has nine points in 12 career games against Philadelphia. … Flyers rookie forward Matt Read extended his goal-scoring streak to five games by scoring Monday against Carolina. It's the longest goal-scoring streak by a Philadelphia rookie since Mikael Renberg had a goal in six straight during the 1993-94 season.

Injury Report: Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn is day to day with a lower-body injury, which is reporting to be bruised kidneys. Coburn skated with the team and took light contact, but his status for Wednesday is unknown. … The Islanders will be without defenseman Mark Eaton for up to six weeks due to a sprained knee ligament sustained on Monday. Also out are goalies Al Montoya (hamstring) and Evgeni Nabokov (groin).

Stat Pack: The Flyers have won six in a row and 21 of the last 22 meetings between the teams, dating to Feb. 12, 2008. Philadelphia also has won 10 of its last 11 visits at Nassau Coliseum, dating to that same game in the 2007-08 season.

Puck Drop: At age 39, Jaromir Jagr knows his days in the NHL are numbered, so missing time for any reason is not something he enjoys.

Jagr has a history of being durable, having played all 82 games in each of his three previous NHL seasons, and he told that it's been about seven years since he's missed a game due to injury.

Missing a game, he said, "At my age, is like losing one year of your life."

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