A battle of two teams out of the playoff picture happens tonight in Raleigh, NC. What will the storyline be? Will both teams play for pride? Steve Mason gets the start for the Flyers as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.
Looking to extend a two-game win streak, the New York Islanders began a 7-game home stretch on Sunday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Unfortunately, the Isles gave up a two-goal lead and were defeated 4-2.
Already winning two games last season against the Canes, the Isles started backup goaltender Kevin Poulin in net. After waiving and ultimately sending Rick DiPietro down to the Bridgeport Soundtigers, the Isles called up Poulin to indefinitely serve as backup to Evgeni Nabakov.
The New York Islanders went into tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes with the hopes of ending a four-game losing streak before heading back to Madison Square Garden on Thursday night for their Valentine's Day re-match with the New York Rangers. Despite ending their scoreless power play streak, the Islanders would add another tally to the loss column with a 6-4 defeat on home ice.
Frans Nielsen opened the scoring with a power play goal just 2:48 into the hockey game with assists coming from Josh Bailey and Travis Hamonic. But former Islanders Tim Wallace would tie the game a little over mid-way through the first period, sending both teams to their respective locker rooms in a draw.
The middle frame would prove to be a wild one. John Tavares scored the Isles second power play goal after jumping on a rebound in front. Matt Moulson and Lubomir Visnovsky earned the helpers. But Canes forward Jeff Skinner would knot it up at two less than 30 seconds later with a snap shot in the high slot that Rick DiPietro never saw.
Poor play in the third period almost cost the Flyers two points once again.
This time, Danny Briere came to rescue of those points, beating Cam Ward in overtime to send the Flyers to a 4-3 win over Carolina. It was their fourth straight game earning a point, going 3-0-1 on the four-game home stand.
It was also the second straight game the Flyers spend in overtime, having lost to the Panthers 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday.
The Flyers were able to end it before they got to the shootout this time. Briere broke into the zone and skated across the slot, faking a pass to Kurtis Foster before squeezing the wrister through Ward's legs to win the game.
(Picture: Matt Read celebrates after scoring in the second period. AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
The Flyers are 2-0-1 on their four-game home stand so far. They conclude it against the team they started it against in Carolina. Can they cool down a hot Cam Ward and Eric Staal all while staying out of the penalty box?
The 2013 NHL season is no longer an 82 game marathon, but instead is a 48 game dash to the finish line.
Will teams that had multiple players skating in Europe fair better? Will veteran squads win because they will have fresh legs all season long? Only the next few months will tell.
Here are my Eastern Conference power rankings.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins – A healthyEvgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will lead Pittsburgh deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. The addition of veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun gives Coach Dan Bylsma a solid option if Marc-Andre Fleury falters.
The Islanders could not have rebounded from their 5-1 loss on Thursday night better than they did last night. The Hurricanes came to the Island 22-24-11, and they would start goaltender Cam Ward for the 51st time this season.