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Islanders-Flyers Preview @NHL
Islanders-Flyers Preview

GAME: New York Islanders (7-8-0) at Philadelphia Flyers (9-3-1).

TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Philadelphia Flyers look to continue their home dominance as they meet the New York Islanders for the second time this season.

The Flyers improved to 3-0 on their current five-game homestand with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. Defenseman Joni Pitkanen scored the tying goal with 24 seconds to play in regulation and netted the game-winner 1:55 into overtime as the Flyers won their seventh straight at home and improved to 8-1-1 in their last 10 overall.

"He gained 15 pounds in the offseason and he's a really confident guy right now," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said of Pitkanen. "I think we're seeing the emergence of a really good player,"

Pitkanen has three goals and 11 assists during a six-game points streak.

Flyers center Peter Forsberg, who assisted on the game-tying goal, had three assists and leads the NHL with 24 assists and 28 points.

Simon Gagne also scored his league-leading 16th goal in the win. At his current pace, Gagne would easily break the Flyers single-season record of 61, set by Reggie Leach during the 1975-76 season.

"I haven't thought about it really," Gagne said after practice Wednesday. "I was looking to have a good year and that's still my goal. Right now, it's a little bit higher than I expected."

Philadelphia has scored 21 goals during its four-game winning streak and is second in the NHL in scoring at 4.6 goals per game.

Rick DiPietro made 25 saves Tuesday as the Islanders rebounded from two straight ugly losses with a 4-1 victory at New Jersey. The defensive effort was a welcome change from the previous two games in which New York allowed 11 goals in defeats to Pittsburgh and Ottawa.

"It was kind of gloom and doom around here after those two loses," DiPietro said. "The guys came out with a sense of urgency. We weren't laying back."

The Islanders have lost three of their last four games at Philadelphia, including a 5-1 defeat Oct. 15. DiPietro missed that game with a concussion and backup Garth Snow made 41 saves in the loss.

This game marks the end of a three-game road trip for the Islanders, who play Boston at home Saturday before leaving for a four-game road trip on Monday. They have yet to win consecutive road games this season.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 9): Islanders - 14 points, 3rd place (tied), 7 PB, Atlantic Division. Flyers - 19 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Alexei Yashin and Miroslav Satan, 8 goals; Alexei Zhitnik, 10 assists; Alexei Yashin, 17 points; Janne Niinimaa, 34 PIM. Flyers - Gagne, 16 goals; Forsberg, 24 assists and 28 points; Donald Brashear, 24 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 9): Islanders - Power play: 14.4 percent (14 for 97), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.8 percent (95 for 119), 23rd. Flyers - Power play: 20.7 percent (21 for 101), 8th. Penalty killing: 75.8 percent (69 for 91), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Islanders - DiPietro (5-6-0, 0 SO, 3.45 GAA); Snow (2-2-0, 3.69). Flyers - Robert Esche (7-2-1, 2.89); Antero Niittymaki (2-1-0, 4.59).

SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 15; Flyers, 5-1. At Philadelphia, Michal Handzus scored twice in the first period as the Flyers built a 4-1 lead.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 3-5-0 on the road; Flyers - 7-1-0 at home.

Associated Press

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