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Preview: Flyers at Islanders

Goalie Jaroslav Halak starts for New York, Michal Neuvirth expected for Philadelphia

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

FLYERS (5-5-1) at ISLANDERS (4-6-0)

7 p.m. ET; MSG+, CSN-PH, NHL.TV


Flyers team scope

Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl will return to the lineup after missing the past eight games with an upper-body injury. "It was a long two weeks," Raffl said. "Very excited to get back." Coach Dave Hakstol said Raffl will start the game at left wing on a line with center Claude Giroux and right wing Wayne Simmonds. "[Raffl] is a big body (6-foot, 200 pounds) that's a straight-line presence," Hakstol said. "He's going to do some of the dirty work in terms of puck possession and some of the down-low work. Along with that, he's a guy that we need to go to the net and be around the blue paint." With Raffl in, Dale Weise will be a healthy scratch. Weise, who signed a four-year contract July 1, has one assist and five shots on goal in eight games. "It's tough to take him out of the lineup because he had the break with the suspension," Hakstol said. "We haven't been able to get him into a rhythm. He's not going to be out of our lineup very often, but today, just evaluating, it's an opportunity for Michael to go in and do some good things for our team." Hakstol said goalie Michal Neuvirth will start for the second straight game. He made 22 saves in a 4-3 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. "I wouldn't say his last two 60-minute performances have been 100 percent clean, but they've been pretty good and he's made key saves at key times," Hakstol said.


Islanders team scope

Goalie Jaroslav Halak will start for the New York Islanders after allowing three goals in relief of Thomas Greiss during a 6-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Rookie forward Anthony Beauvillier will be a healthy scratch. Alan Quine will play his first game since Oct. 27; he'll center veterans Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera on the third line. "We just want to get some guys in the lineup," coach Jack Capuano said. "It's a good line. It's a hard line. We'll see if that can get some of those guys going," Ladd and Chimera in particular are struggling. Neither has scored in 10 games. Ladd (one assist) has been bounced around the lineup since he was taken off the top line with John Tavares. "I don't know if there was a little bit of pressure from him being on Johnny's line off the start," Capuano said. "For me I just want him to play. I've just tried to explain to him just relax and play your game." Rookie center Mathew Barzal [strep throat] skated Thursday but won't play. The Islanders play their first of four games against the Flyers and are looking for their first win of the season against a Metropolitan Division opponent (0-3-0) after going 18-8-4 in divisional games last season. "These games are always fun to play in," Tavares said. "They always come with a lot of emotion, a lot of intensity. We just want to get off to a much better start and establish our game."


Flyers projected lineup

Michael Raffl -- Claude Giroux -- Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Chris VandeVelde -- Brayden Schenn -- Nick Cousins

Matt Read -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Roman Lyubimov

Nick Schultz -- Shayne Gostisbehere

Ivan Provorov -- Mark Streit

Brandon Manning -- Radko Gudas

Michal Neuvirth

Steve Mason

Scratched: Dale Weise

Injured: Andrew MacDonald (lower body), Boyd Gordon (upper body), Scott Laughton (lower body), Michael Del Zotto (lower body)


Islanders projected lineup

Shane Prince -- John Tavares -- Josh Bailey

Anders Lee -- Brock Nelson -- Ryan Strome

Andrew Ladd -- Alan Quine -- Jason Chimera

Nikolay Kulemin -- Casey Cizikas -- Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy -- Travis Hamonic

Thomas Hickey -- Johnny Boychuk

Calvin de Haan -- Dennis Seidenberg

Jaroslav Halak

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Jean-Francois Berube, Anthony Beauvillier, Mathew Barzal

Injured: Ryan Pulock (lower body)


Status report

MacDonald is expected to miss about a week, and Gordon has been placed on injured reserve. Laughton was sent to Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment. Schenn, who has played mostly left wing, will center the third line, with Cousins moving from center to right wing. General manager Ron Hextall said Del Zotto could play at the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. ... Prince was moved to the top line with Tavares and Bailey. "We're trying to get some speed on that line," Capuano said. "We're trying to create some possession time in the offensive zone. He brings a little bit of speed to that line. He's done a good job possessing the puck and we'll give him an opportunity."


Who's hot

Giroux has points in 10 straight games (two goals, 11 assists), an NHL career-high. His 13 points are tied with Chicago Blackhawks forward Artem Anisimov for the League lead. … Simmonds is on a five-game point-scoring streak. His six goals are tied for second in the NHL behind Anisimov and Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (seven). … Islanders defensemen have goals in six straight games and lead the NHL with a total of 10. Flyers defensemen have nine.

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