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Islanders continue playoff push against Flyers

by Mike G. Morreale

ISLANDERS (15-15-3) at FLYERS (13-17-2)


Last 10: New York 5-4-1; Philadelphia 3-6-1

Season series: This is the second of four meetings between the Atlantic Division foes this season. The Flyers soared to a 7-0 victory on Feb. 18 in Uniondale as captain Claude Giroux scored a pair of goals and added one assist and Ilya Bryzgalov made 19 saves to notch his first and only shutout this season.

Big story: After saluting mainstay defenseman Kimmo Timonen for reaching his 1,000th career game, the Flyers went out and dropped a 5-2 decision to the New York Rangers on Tuesday to fall to 14th in the Eastern Conference standings. The Islanders, meanwhile, enter the game with visions of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six seasons.

Team Scope:

Islanders: The Islanders will be playing the second of a four-game road swing when they visit Wells Fargo Center. The team scored a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday as John Tavares scored his 20th goal of the season with 5:18 remaining in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie; it was Tavares' fourth game-winning goal. The visiting Islanders jumped out to a two-goal lead early in the first on goals by Michael Grabner and Josh Bailey before the Capitals stormed back to pull even in the second. Evgeni Nabokov, who was making his third straight start in five days, made 20 saves.

Flyers: Philadelphia's 5-2 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday was the 11th setback to their Atlantic Division rivals in 12 meetings, including five of the past six at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers, losers of three straight, did pull within 3-2 at 6:28 of the third when Giroux won an offensive-zone draw back to Bruno Gervais, whose straightaway slapper hit Jakub Voracek up high and deflected past Henrik Lundqvist. The goal was Voracek's sixth in 11 career games against Lundqvist. But goals by Rick Nash and Chris Kreider sealed the Flyers fate.

"We have to move on," Timonen said after the game. "It's tough and [the loss to the Rangers] was a huge game to lose. We can talk all we want or watch tape, but once we step on the ice and it doesn't happen, that's our fault. We're the players that play the game, and that's our fault."

Who's hot: Islanders first-line left wing Matt Moulson has nine assists in the past nine games. … Giroux has three goals and six points in the past six games for the Flyers.

Injury report: The Islanders will be without forward David Ullstrom (groin) and defenseman Brian Strait (ankle). … Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann (upper body) is questionable and forward Danny Briere (concussion, injured reserve) is out for the Flyers.

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