Philadelphia Flyers (21-22-3--45pts)
New York Islanders (24-16-6--54pts)
TV: CSN - RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic
1. HOME FINALE
The Flyers play their final home game of the season… They currently own a 14-7-2 record at the Wells Fargo Center this season… This will be the sixth consecutive season that the Flyers have posted a winning record on home ice and the 17th time in the last 18 seasons they will own a winning mark at home (since 1993-94)… The Flyers have had only five seasons in which they did not own a winning record at home in their 45 seasons of play in the NHL… The Flyers have won their "home finale" in each of the last three years and six of their last seven seasons.
2. HEAD TO HEAD
This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between the Flyers and Isles with the Flyers owning a 1-1-1 record so far in the season series… The Islanders come into tonight having not lost in regulation in their last 11 games, going 8-0-3 in that span, and have gone 11-1-3 in their last 15 games… The Flyers come into tonight's game having won their last two games and four of their last five, going 4-1-0, and averaging 4.2 goals-per-game in that span and out-scoring their opponent, 21-13.
3. THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE...
The Flyers will hand out their annual team awards tonight before the game…
Gene Hart Memorial Award - Flyer who plays with the most "heart" voted by the Flyers fan club at their monthly meetings (2011-12 Winner: Wayne Simmonds)
Toyota Cup - Flyer who earned the most points from being a "Star of the Game" throughout the season (2011-12 Winner: Claude Giroux)
4. Player to watch FLYERS: Jakub Voracek - (RW) #93
Voracek has posted at least a goal in four of his last five games and recorded six points in that span (4g-2a)… He is the Flyers leading goal scorer with 21 goals on the season, which is a new career-high, surpassing his 18-goal mark set in 2011-12… Voracek has posted at least a point in 28 games this season and is one of three Flyers to have appeared in all 46 games this season for the Flyers (Giroux & Fedotenko)… Against the Islanders, Voracek has five points (1g-4a) in three games of the season series.
5. Player to watch ISLANDERS: John Tavares - (C) #91
Tavares ranks third overall in the NHL in goals (27) and leads the Islanders in points (46)… Tavares has three goals and four points in his last three games, and has recorded over 20 minutes of ice-time in six of his last seven games… In the season series, Tavares has two goals and three points in three games.
"Unfortunately we’re just starting to score goals too late but I think our team’s gelling. Just starting to get the luck and the bounces and working hard together. All the lines, the chemistry are clicking."
Last 10: New York 7-0-3; Philadelphia 5-5-0
Season series: This will be the fourth and final game between the Atlantic Division rivals this season. The New York Islanders have won the two most recent meetings against the Philadelphia Flyers, including a 4-1 win April 9 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Big story: With a playoff spot locked up, the Islanders will be focused on claiming as many points as they can to keep climbing the Eastern Conference standings.
Islanders: It wasn't exactly how they pictured it, but a loss on the ice became a win in the locker room for the New York Islanders on Tuesday. The point earned from their shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes was enough to clinch the Isles a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007.
"I've never felt better to lose a game," forward Frans Nielsen said. "[Islanders general manager] Garth Snow has been patient with us, even missing the playoffs. He believed we had the core in here to take us to the postseason. He went out and found some good pieces this summer, like [defenseman Lubomir] Visnovsky and those kind of guys to build onto it, so we've got it now. It's fun."
The playoff clinching capped a 15-game 11-1-3 run that lifted the Islanders from 12th in the Eastern Conference to sixth. How it happened, however, remains a question.
"It's hard to pick what changed things for us, but we got our game going and got contributions from everybody and started to figure out what it's going to take to win," said John Tavares, who scored the game-tying goal with 1:01 left in the third period. "Sometimes it takes understanding success and learning how to handle it. In the second half, we finally got that under our belts. The patience was there. I think we all knew what a great opportunity we had here with this young group of guys, and we've all committed to be here. It's nice to have it come together this season."
Flyers: In the past, Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has talked about thriving with extra work. However, playing 22 straight games earlier this season was too much even for him.
That's why rather than feel threatened when the Flyers acquired goalie Steve Mason at the trade deadline, Bryzgalov was relieved. Since Mason arrived, Bryzgalov has played five of nine games, after playing 34 of the Flyers' first 36 games.
"I think it's great for the team when you have two good goalies on the team," Bryzgalov said after practice Wednesday. "During the season, I didn't have much opportunity for rest during the long stretch. I was kind of exhausted. You have the luxury of having a second goalie who can play great, too, it's wonderful for the team. You play another goalie and he can win the games, too."
Who's hot: Tavares has earned Hart Trophy consideration for his play in April, which includes six goals, four assists and a plus-6 rating in 11 games. … Since coming to Philadelphia, Mason has allowed just 11 goals in six games (five starts).
Injury report: The Islanders are a healthy team. … The Flyers are missing forwards Zac Rinaldo (ankle), Maxime Talbot (leg), and Jody Shelley (hip), and defensemen Braydon Coburn (shoulder), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder), Nicklas Grossmann (concussion), Kent Huskins (concussion), Bruno Gervais (torn stomach muscle) and Kimmo Timonen (foot).
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