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Isles try to end drought in Philadelphia

by John Kreiser

ISLANDERS (4-4-2) at FLYERS (5-4-1)

TV – MSG PLUS 2; CSN-Philadelphia (HD)

Season series –
The Atlantic Division rivals are meeting for the first of six times this season. The Flyers have dominated the series during the last three seasons; Philadelphia won the first five meetings in 2009-10 before the Isles salvaged the finale, ending a 15-game drought against the Flyers. They have lost their last 10 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Team Scope:

Islanders – After a 4-1-2 start, the Islanders have come back to the pack by dropping their last three games, including a home-and-home series against Montreal. That included a 3-1 loss Friday night at the Nassau Coliseum in which the Islanders were beaten despite outplaying the Canadiens for most of the last two periods. The problem: They couldn’t get more than one puck past Alex Auld.

 “I don't think the score reflects the result,” coach Scott Gordon said. “It's a very unique situation where you spend that much time in the offensive zone in the last two periods and don't come away with a win.”

Flyers – After drawing the ire of their coach with a lackluster performance in a 2-1 loss at Columbus on Monday, the Flyers have rebounded with solid efforts that produced a 6-3 home win against Buffalo on Tuesday and a 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh on Friday.

The third meeting between the in-state rivals in the first 23 days of the season produced two fights in the first 30 seconds. There were so many penalties in the opening period that the teams spent 1:34 playing 3-on-3.

"It was actually kind of difficult just because it was constantly pausing in the beginning - stops and stops," goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said.

Who’s hot – Isles center John Tavares has 4 goals in his 3 games. Rookie Matt Martin had his first of the season on Friday. … Flyers forward Claude Giroux had a pair of goals in the win at Pittsburgh and has scored six times in Philadelphia’s 10 games.

Injury report – The Islanders are still without defensemen Mark Streit (shoulder surgery) and Andrew MacDonald (broken hand), as well as center Rob Schremp (back) and forward Kyle Okposo (shoulder operation). Another forward, Michael Grabner, missed Friday’s game with a groin problem that will keep him out again. … The Flyers are healthy.

Stat pack – Isles coach Scott Gordon, now in his third season behind the bench, is still looking for his first victory at Philadelphia. In fact, his team has yet to win a road game within the division outside the state of New York – Gordon’s Isles are also 0-for-New Jersey and 0-for-Pittsburgh; the only division road games they’ve won under Gordon have come against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Puck drop – Two years ago, Mike Richards made life miserable for power plays by scoring seven shorthanded goals. Giroux has taken over that mantle – his shorthanded goal in Pittsburgh was his League-high third of the season. He has all three of Philadelphia’s shorthanded goals, and no team has more.



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