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Flyers want two points from game with Islanders

by Adam Kimelman
FLYERS (44-19-10) at ISLANDERS (29-34-12)


Last 10 --
Philadelphia 4-2-4; New York 5-2-3

Season series -- This is the fifth of six meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals. The Flyers have won the first four, most recently a 4-3 overtime decision in Philadelphia. The Flyers built a 3-1 lead 5:05 into the third period, but the Isles' Matt Martin scored twice to tie it. Andrej Meszaros won it in overtime for the Flyers.

Big story -- The Flyers haven't lost in regulation in eight games, but they have just four wins in that span, and are coming off a shootout loss Thursday to the Penguins that was described by players and coaches as embarrassing and unacceptable.

The Islanders are relishing their spoiler role, having won two of their last three games, including a 5-2 defeat of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Team Scope:

Flyers -- Coach Peter Laviolette gave his players Friday off -- a smart move considering they have back-to-back games this weekend at the Isles and Sunday at home against the Bruins. It also gives the players another day to dwell on what happened Thursday in their 2-1 shootout loss to the Penguins.

"Our game was off the mark," Laviolette told "We lost a lot of areas of the game. … There's a bunch of different ways you could go with it. We weren't sharp. What we need to do is make sure we're ready to play this weekend. When we go into the Island, they're going to be ready to play us.

"One of the most important things we do is prepare ourselves for what is at hand this weekend. Talk about (Thursday), but there was more to it. It just wasn't a complete effort."

Islanders -- The Islanders had been one of the better teams in the League after the All-Star break, going 12-5-4 in its first 21 games, but they've won just two of five since then, including a 2-1 loss to the Thrashers that saw them put just 15 shots on goal.

"We were behind the play all night," John Tavares, who scored the Isles' only goal, told the New York Post. "We were a little sluggish for the first two periods."

The Islanders had seven shots in the first two periods, and then had eight in the third.

Coach Jack Capuano said he had a bad feeling during the morning skate, one that was proven right during the game.

"I sensed at the pre-game skate this morning that after that trip when we came back, we weren't ready in the pre-game skate," he told the team's website. "We weren't ready to play hockey tonight."

Who's hot -- In his last eight games, Flyers forward Jeff Carter has 5 goals and 2 assists. … Islanders rookie forward Michael Grabner was held off the score sheet Thursday, but prior to that he had three straight 2-point games.

Injury report -- Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger continues to rehabilitate from surgery to repair a broken bone in his right hand, with the hope he'll be able to return prior to the end of the regular season. … The latest addition to the Islanders' lengthy injury list is defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum in his right hip.

Stat pack -- The Flyers have won four straight and 19 of their last 20 against the Islanders. They've also won nine of their last 10 at Nassau Coliseum.

Puck drop -- Pronger said his goal remains returning prior to the start of the playoffs, but Friday he admitted to feeling "a little sore" and "overdoing it" shooting pucks during Thursday's practice. He also said he still can't fully squeeze his stick.

"We'll have some good days and bad days, but hopefully more good," he told Pronger said he didn't think his shots on Thursday were very hard, but "probably more so than the muffins I threw the day before."

He had been shooting pucks since Tuesday, and has been wearing a yellow, no-contact jersey during practices.

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