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Flyers host Isles in another crucial division battle

Thursday, 03.28.2013 / 11:10 AM

Associated Press

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Flyers host Isles in another crucial division battle
New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers (13-17-2--28pts)
New York Islanders (15-15-3--33pts)

TV: CSN - RADIO: 97.5 The Fanatic

  View Tonight's Game Notes


The Flyers will be playing the Islanders three times in the final month of regular season play… They won the only meeting of the year with a convincing 7-0 win on Long Island back on Feb. 18… The Flyers have won 14 of the last 16 games on home-ice against the Islanders… The Flyers are 125-86-26-5 in 242 games against the Islanders - The 125 wins and 281 standings points the Flyers have against the Isles are the second most they have against any opponent, behind only Pittsburgh.

The Flyers have gone perfect on the power play in their last two games, going 1-for-1 in both games, and now own the NHL's third-best power-play unit at 23 percent, and the NHL's second-best power play on home ice at 28.1 percent, going 16-for-57, and posting at least a PPG in three of their last four home games… The Flyers also have the eighth-best penalty killing unit in the NHL at 83.7 percent… They are the only team in the NHL in the Top 8 of both power-play and penalty-killing percentages.

During the Flyers final 16 games, they have three sets of back-to-backs and will not have more than two days between games at any point… Luke Schenn has 127 hits on the season and Zac Rinaldo has 118 - both are in the league’s Top 10, while Isles' Matt Martin leads the league with 160 hits… The Islanders have been tied or ahead in the third period in 27-of-33 games (15-8-3), and are 7-2-3 in games decided by a single goal… Isles' Matt Moulson has appeared in 279 consecutive games and has yet to miss a game in his Islanders career.

4. Player to watch FLYERS: Jakub Voracek - (RW) #93
In the last meeting against the Islanders, Voracek posted a career-high four points, all assists, in the team's 7-0 win… Voracek also comes into tonight's game with a two-game point streak with a goal and two assists… Voracek leads the Flyers in points (34) and goals (14), while being tied for the lead in assists (20)… Voracek also has 18 points (9g-9a) in 13 games against Atlantic Division opponents this season.

5. Player to watch ISLANDERS: John Tavares - (C) #91
The Islanders top player comes into today's game with a four-game point streak in which he has scored goals in three of the contests, including the game-winning-goal in the team's last game (3-2 vs. WSH)… He has four points in total during that stretch… Tavares is second overall in goals scored (20) and tied for 7th in the NHL in points (35)… As a team, the Islanders are 1-9-1 when Tavares is held without a point… Against the Flyers, the former No. 1 overall pick (2009) has six goals and 13 points in 19 games.

"You have to continue to move forward. Nobody's happy with what happened [on Tuesday]. It wasn't the way we needed to play to be successful, so you have to make a choice to change it and do something different."
- Peter Laviolette

The New York Islanders haven't been at their best at home, but their play on the road has them eying what could be their first playoff berth in six years.

The Philadelphia Flyers continue to spiral out of contention, and are in danger of missing out on the postseason for the first time in six years.

New York looks to win a fourth straight road game and send the Flyers to a fourth straight loss Thursday night in Philadelphia.

The Islanders (15-15-3) trail the New York Rangers by two points for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference despite squandering most opportunities at Nassau Coliseum to make up ground in the standings. They suffered a 7-0 home loss to Philadelphia on Feb. 18 - their 29th defeat in the last 33 meetings - and their six home wins are the third-fewest in the league.

New York has been much better away from Nassau Coliseum, going 9-4-1, with wins in five of its last six. The power play has been much better on the road, scoring on an NHL-best 29.7 percent of chances compared to 18.8 in Uniondale.

New York, which last made the playoffs in 2007, won 3-2 at Washington on Tuesday in the first stop on a four-game trip. After blowing a 2-0 lead, Matt Moulson registered his 100th career assist, finding John Tavares for the game-winner with less than six minutes remaining. Moulson has nine assists over his last nine games, and Tavares ranks second in the league with 20 goals.

"It was a big road win, and a great way to start the road trip," Tavares told the team's official website. "It's great, but the focus has to be on the next one. It's one game at a time, and we need as many wins as we can get here."

Things continue to sour for Philadelphia (13-17-2), which has dropped three in a row and seven of nine after a 5-2 home loss to the Rangers on Tuesday. The Flyers are seven points back of the Rangers, and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007 seems realistic with 16 games remaining.

Third-period play continues to be a major issue as they're being outscored 36-21 on the season. Philadelphia is 1-11-0 when trailing after two periods.

"Our third periods have not been a period where we've exercised a comeback or even put games away," coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's been something that's bit us this year."

The Flyers also suffered another injury hit on Wednesday with general manager Paul Holmgren announcing that defenseman Andrej Meszaros was placed on injured reserve after he re-aggravated the left shoulder that already kept him out for over a month earlier this season. Philadelphia announced two days earlier that Danny Briere was out indefinitely with a concussion.

The Islanders will try to corral Claude Giroux, who has 21 points in his last 15 games against New York. Giroux and Briere each had two goals and an assist in last month's meeting.

2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 25 '13 NYI 1 at PHI 2 O. Lauridsen
Apr 09 '13 PHI 1 at NYI 4 M. Grabner
Mar 28 '13 NYI 4 at PHI 3 - SO J. Bailey
Feb 18 '13 PHI 7 at NYI 0 C. Giroux
J. Tavares34211536-81684
M. Moulson34112435-10470
B. Boyes3481927-111211
F. Nielsen3431518-51010
M. Streit3451217-132021
M. Grabner3111415-1811
K. Okposo3431114-53400
C. McDonald316713-43010
C. Cizikas315813+01001
K. Aucoin275510-5411
J. Bailey24549+1200
L. Visnovsky22369+21610
T. Hamonic34279-122010
A. MacDonald34268-111211
M. Martin34246-34910
D. Ullstrom20235-2601
M. Reasoner28055-3400
B. Strait15044+3600
T. Hickey26123+5401
R. Martinek9202+0401
J. Finley16011-52000
M. Carkner14011-32400
E. Boulton12000-31700
E. Nabokov2916-10-3818352.80.903
R. DiPietro30-3-012834.09.855
K. Poulin30-2-09673.88.866
J. Voracek33142034-9882
C. Giroux33102232-111252
W. Simmonds30111223-96163
B. Schenn3261319-71320
K. Timonen3331619-13020
M. Read277815-4211
D. Briere265813-13621
M. Talbot33459+02300
S. Gagne23268-2620
R. Fedotenko33178+51200
S. Hartnell17437-35220
M. Knuble19347-21801
L. Schenn32257-32800
S. Couturier31257-13400
T. McGinn17325+11901
B. Coburn33145-104100
K. Foster16145-1610
Z. Rinaldo29314-77800
N. Grossmann30134-12100
B. Gervais30134-121000
T. Sestito7202+11201
E. Gustafsson12022-7200
A. Meszaros11022-9200
H. Zolnierczyk7011+03600
S. Laughton5000+0000
E. Wellwood4000+0000
J. Shelley1000+0000
A. Lilja1000-1000
I. Bryzgalov3113-14-3848292.83.899
B. Boucher40-2-06552.50.891
M. Leighton10-1-05265.08.808
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