Miroslav Satan has been coming up with key goals for the New York Islanders of late. Goaltender Martin Biron, meanwhile, has been near-flawless at home for the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Atlantic Division rivals meet Monday at the Wachovia Center, with the Flyers trying to extend their best start at home in more than 21 years.
Satan has scored the game-winning goal in each of the last three games for the Islanders (9-4-0), exceeding his total from all of last season. After a brutal start in which he had just one assist in his first six games, Satan has five goals and five assists in a seven-game points streak and his power-play tally with 13:35 to play lifted New York to a 2-1 victory Saturday over New Jersey.
"It's the way it's going," Satan said. "It's pointless to analyze it. I'm just glad to help the team."
In addition to Satan's timely goal-scoring, the Islanders also have been very disciplined during their four-game winning streak. They did not take a penalty Saturday and have had to kill off just eight in those four games.
"It means we're not skating from behind," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said, "and we're in good position."
The Islanders have been effective on the power play in their four road games - going 7-for-17 - but went 0-for-1 in a 3-1 loss to the Flyers on Oct. 13.
Biron made 29 saves in that game and has compiled a 5-0-0 record with a 1.00 goals-against average and .971 save percentage at home for Philadelphia (10-6-0), which posted a 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday. Defenseman Kimmo Timonen had a goal and three assists - all on the power play - for the Flyers, who converted 4 of 7 chances with the man advantage.
"It looked like we got all the breaks we haven't gotten in previous games," said Timonen, who scored his first goal with the Flyers. "If you can do a good job on special teams every night, you're pretty close to winning the game."
The Flyers are 5-0-0 at home for the first time since reeling off eight straight wins at the Spectrum to start the 1986-87 season. That squad eventually reached the Stanley Cup finals, losing to the Edmonton Oilers in seven games.
First-line center Daniel Briere, who added a goal and two assists in Saturday's victory, has a goal and six assists in his last four home games. He has five goals and six assists in 15 lifetime games versus the Islanders, but has not netted a goal against them since Oct. 29, 2005, a span of five games.
Jeff Carter and Sami Kapanen scored 2:09 apart in the second period for the Flyers in the first meeting between the teams, and Rick DiPietro made 20 saves for the Islanders.