The struggling New York Islanders (7-10-3) look to turn things around tonight with Evgeni Nabokov in goal against the visiting Detroit Red Wings (9-5-6). The Red Wings, now a new Eastern Conference opponent due to the alignment change, are facing the Isles for the first time this season after a 4-3 shootout loss last night to the Washington Capitals.
The Isles, who once sat second in the Metropolitan Division, currently sit in 6th, five points behind the second place Capitals and three points behind the third place Carolina Hurricanes.
An inability to hold gain leads and/or hold them has propelled the Islanders to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings (12th in the East) and has allowed their division rivals to surpass them.
Okay, someone has to say it: the Philadelphia Flyers are building wrong.
Going back through the last five Stanley Cup winners (2009-13) and the Flyers Eastern Conference Champion team in 2010, there is a huge discrepancy when comparing the make-up of those teams to the Flyers of 2013.
The winning teams being talked about are the 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins, 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks, 2010-11 Boston Bruins, 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings, and 2012-13 Blackhawks.
(Photo: Chicago's Patrick Kane just realizes he scored the game-winning goal of Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, beating the Flyers.)
Ryan Strome has been developing with the New York Islanders organization for the past two years, playing with their AHL farm-team affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Photo Credit: mandelux12/Flickr).
In 10 games with the Sound Tigers in 2013, Strome scored seven points in 10 games (two goals and five assists). He has continued the high scoring pace this season as well, notching 14 points in nine games played (three goals and 11 assists) as the team's top scorer.
He also was cited as the best player in the Islander rookie camp before the puck dropped for this season as well.
...But this trade signifies that GM Garth Snow is ready to strike a deal that can be made in order to benefit his team. He's no longer building for the future. He's looking to win right now (Photo credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
And he should be. The rebuild has been over for at least a year now. The Islanders made the playoffs last year and played a series against a much better Pittsburgh Penguins team that could have gone either way had there been better goaltending.
The expectations deserve to be raised, and Snow has to make moves for the present. But at what cost?
The New York Islanders return home to host the Philadelphia Flyers after playing the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road last night, which resulted in a 4-3 win.
The Flyers arrival on Coliseum ice tonight also means the return of former Islanders captain Mark Streit. The puck-moving defenseman was let go over the summer and signed with the Flyers as an unrestricted free agent. He currently has two assists and is a -4 on a struggling Flyers team that is 2-7-0, sitting in last place for the entire league.
On the other hand, the Islanders have continued to find ways to earn points and win hockey games, currently holding a 4-3-3 record on the year. They sit 7th in the Eastern Conference and are in second place in the Metropolitan Division.
In a battle of two struggling teams coming off of extended layoffs, this critical game will decide plenty. Will an offensively challenged Flyers team recover against their huge rivals from New York City?
The Islanders will look to rebound from their first regulation loss of the season with a match-up tonight against the Nashville Predators.
The Isles fell 3-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night in what was a somewhat sloppy game that saw a few of the team's defenseman out of position, leading to multiple scoring opportunities for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Tonight, the Isles will look to rectify these mistakes and get back to their winning ways.