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Islanders try to put win streak together vs. Flyers

by Adam Kimelman
ISLANDERS (17-21-6) at FLYERS (27-13-4)


Last 10:
New York 6-4-0; Philadelphia 6-4-0

Season series: This is the third of six meetings between the teams, and the first in Philadelphia. The Flyers won the first two games, each by one goal. Danny Briere scored the overtime winner in a 4-3 win Nov. 23, and Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell scored in a 3-2 victory Jan. 12.

Big Story:
Will the Islanders' dads bring more luck to their sons when they visit Philadelphia than the Wild's fathers did on Tuesday? The Flyers beat the Wild 5-1 on the first leg of that team's father-and-son trip. The Isles' dads will be traveling with their sons to Philadelphia on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Islanders: The Islanders were pretty happy with themselves -- and deservedly so -- for their 3-0 win Tuesday in Washington.

PA Parenteau had his first two-goal NHL game, John Tavares scored his 17th goal of the season and goaltender Evgeni Nabokov stopped all 17 shots he faced for his 51st career shutout.

"We were really disciplined all over the ice," Parenteau told Newsday. "That team has a lot of firepower and they're a good team at home. It's a big team win for us."

However, the Isles have alternated wins and losses now for six straight, so the next goal is putting together a streak of consecutive wins.

"We've played some pretty good hockey, but you need to be mistake-free or close to it this time of year," defenseman Travis Hamonic told Newsday. "It's time to start stringing together a couple of games like this."

Sean Couturier continues to draw attention for his goal-scoring, which reached five straight games with his shorthanded goal Tuesday against the Wild. However, what's really impressed teammates is how he thinks the game.

"I think he's got one of the best sticks in the League," All-Star center Claude Giroux said. "He made a play on his knees and passed it to Harry (Zolnierczyk) -- just amazing to see a young player like that. He's going to be a really good player."

The shorthanded goal was Couturier's second of the season, and his ability on the penalty kill is one of the reasons he earned his own trip to Ottawa for All-Star Weekend.

Couturier is second among the team's forwards in shorthanded ice time per game at 2:39, and is becoming an offensive force on the penalty kill reminiscent of former Flyer Mike Richards.

"There's years where you get six or seven goals and years where you get two," Danny Briere told "It's not about the amount of goals, it's the plays. (Couturier) is able to break plays because of good reads and his good stick. That's the most important part.
"We talk about goals he scored, but how many is he stopping by breaking the play? He is always in the right position defensively. In Sean's case, it's reading the play."

Who's Hot:
Tavares' goal Wednesday extended his career-best points streak to 10 games. He has 6 goals and 11 assists during his streak. … Flyers forward Scott Hartnell scored his 20th goal Tuesday, his 44th game. He had 24 goals in 82 games last season.

Injury Report:
Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro likely will miss the rest of the season following sports hernia surgery. Fellow netminder Al Montoya and defenseman Mike Mottau are out with concussions. Center Marty Reasoner is out with a broken thumb. … Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk is out indefinitely with a concussion. Fellow forward Zac Rinaldo is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He told it's a neck injury.

Stat Pack: Tavares' point streak is the longest by an Islander since Mark Parrish had points in 12 straight in October/November 2001.

Puck Drop:
Jody Shelley certainly made the most of his ice time Tuesday against the Wild. In his first game since Dec. 23, he played 9:02, and had two shots and three hits. His line, along with Sean Couturier and Harry Zolnierczyk, created offense and supplied energy all night.

At 35, Shelley isn't going to play every night, but he's still finding ways to contribute.

"He's kept himself in excellent shape," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's never easy not being in the lineup, and you don't make it to this level not wanting to play. So when you get that opportunity to come back, you want to contribute. Through it all Jody's had a real positive attitude. He's worked extremely hard."

He's also worked at being a mentor to the team's younger players, in the same way veterans like Luke Richardson and Tyler Wright did for him when he was starting in the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"You learn from the men in the room as a young guy," Shelley told "If you pick up on it, you can stay around a while. You try to do that. That's what you try to do. You try to bring something every day, whether it's a positive attitude, a little extra work or a little advice or be there for questions. You just do it. That's part of being an older guy in here."

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