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Slumping Flyers visit resurgent Islanders

by Dan Rosen

FLYERS (6-9-1) at ISLANDERS (6-7-1)


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

Season series: This is the first of four meetings between the Atlantic Division foes this season. Philadelphia won four of the six meetings last season.

Big story: The Islanders and Flyers have the same amount of points, but they are headed in opposite directions for the time being. The Islanders have won two in a row against division rivals while the Flyers have dropped three of their last four games.

Team Scope:

Flyers: Following their 4-1 loss to Montreal on Saturday, captain Claude Giroux talked about compete level, or more specifically, lack thereof. He said the Flyers didn't want to score badly enough.

"There's no compete," Giroux said. "We're not winning battles. We're just going through the motions. You know, we're a young team that can skate. We should be winning more battles than this. It's just frustrating to see. I know I have to be better, but a team is 20 guys and you need everybody to show up."

Philadelphia has lost three of its last four games and has been outscored 14-7 in the losses.

"We're not understanding the fact that we need to win hockey games," coach Peter Laviolette said.

Islanders: It's been a different story for the Islanders, who beat the New York Rangers in a shootout on Thursday and blew out the New Jersey Devils, 5-1, on Saturday. John Tavares scored a hat trick in the win over the Devils and entered Sunday tied for the NHL-lead with 11 goals. He has scored at least one goal in each of the past five games.

"He comes to the rink every day to get better," coach Jack Capuano said of Tavares. "He's prepared, he's focused, he's committed, he's willing to do all the little things and intangibles to be one of the best players in the League and the world. That's just where he's at right now."

The back-to-back wins come after the Islanders lost five in a row in regulation. They scored only nine goals in those five losses but have combined for eight goals in their wins over the Rangers and Devils.

The Islanders' power play has been on fire over the past three games, going 7-for-11, including 3-for-5 against the Devils. Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has paid dividends since joining the club four games ago. He's been on the ice for 10 of New York's 14 goals and has four assists.

"We've gone after teams, whether things have gone our way or not," Tavares said. "We've kept going at teams, we've kept putting pressure on them and it's created opportunities for us. We've been rewarded for that and we've just got to keep that going."

Who's hot: In addition to Tavares' hat trick on Saturday, Matt Moulson had a goal and three assists and has seven points in the past three games. Brad Boyes has also found new life on the Islanders' top line with Tavares and Moulson -- he has five points over the past four games.

Injury report: Nothing has changed for the Flyers, who are still without Scott Hartnell (foot), Jody Shelley (hip), Michael Leighton (finger) and Andrej Meszaros (shoulder). The Islanders report no significant injuries.

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