Flyers Travel to Long Island in Hopes to Get Back On Track
Philadelphia Flyers (17-17-3) at New York Islanders (19-16-4)
Nassau Coliseum -- Long Island, NY
7:00 pm -- Comcast Sportsnet and 93.3 FM WMMR
Setting the Stage
The Flyer saw their four-game winning streak snapped on Saturday in a 4-1 drubbing to Winnipeg. They are looking to bounce back from the embarrassing loss to continue their pursuit of the playoffs. Despite that loss, a win tonight puts them only three points out of 8th place.
This the third of four meetings between the two teams with each splitting the series with wins on the road. The Flyers won 7-0 back on February 18 in New York while the Islanders took a shoot-out win on March 28 in Philadelphia.
The Islanders have won six of their last eight games and have earned points in seven of their last eight (6-1-1). The Flyers have won four of their last five (4-1-0) and have earned points in six of their last eight (4-2-2).
What to Expect
Despite Saturday there is no doubt this is still a hungry team. Leading scorers Jakub Voracek (16 goals, 22 assists) and Claude Giroux (11 goals, 26 assists) need to step their game up to the next level and take control.
Sean Couturier has been playing better hockey as of late, finding the scoresheet in four of his last five games. Kimmo Timonen has been excellent offensively, registering 20 assists and four goals for 24 points, fourth highest total on the team.
New York's got a new star in the form of Johnny Tavares. His 23 goals are just two behind NHL leaders Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos and his 40 points lead the team. Matt Moulson's got a team-high 25 assists and is right behind Tavares with 37 points.
The Masked Men
A new wrinkle has been added to this playoff race. Recently acquired Steve Mason relieved Ilya Bryzgalov in Saturday's loss and then signed a contract extension yesterday. He will now be making his first start as a Flyer after stopping nine shots in a 3rd period shut-out on Saturday.
Evgeni Nabokov will get the start for the Islanders. On the season he is 18-11-4 with a 2.64 GAA and .906 save percentage.
Keys to the Game
1. Support Mason. There will be a lot of pressure on Mason. He's making his first start in a Flyers jersey and is in the middle of a playoff race. Fortunately for him he isn't playing at the Wells Fargo Center tonight. His defense will need to help him out though. New York is hungry and will be coming after the Flyers tonight. Control the rebounds and keep the scoring chances to a minimum.
2. Tavares. There really isn't much of a way to stop this kid this season. He's just on fire. Playing physical can always knock a player out of a rhythm though. It's a shame the Flyers are without Zac Rinaldo again because he's the type of player that can frustrate Tavares. Expect to see a bit of Couturier on the ice with Tavares though.
3. Attack the Net. Nabokov has the ability to steal games. But that feat becomes harder if there is constant pressure. The Flyers top two lines have clicked over the past two weeks and have really upped the pressure when they're turned on.
“We thought we had it in the bag the last game we had against them and they turned it on. I think this is a little bit of a wakeup call. We might have thought maybe it was too easy. We're just win out and things will be all great here. We gotta take it as a wakeup call to get back at practice and get focused again and get up for the Islanders." -- Scott Hartnell on the last meeting with New York, a 4-3 shoot-out loss.