The last time these two teams met, the Flyers stood in their defensive zone, while the Lightning stood in the neutral zone. All the while, millions of people watching the nationally televised event began changing the channel to something that actually had a pulse.
The Islanders, who are boasting the worst offense in the league with only a dismal 59 goals for (the second worst team is the L.A. Kings with 63), were heavily criticized for one specific thing over the past three months; not scoring enough goals. (Shocking, right?)
After being shutout several times this year, the Isles were becoming a one-trick pony; if the line of Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau wasn't scoring, then there wasn't anything to worry about if you were the opposing team. However, the Isles have been on a recent streak after coming away with points in their past six games played.
The Islanders return home for a 3 game home stand tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are coming off on a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators last night. The Isles are coming off a 5-4 win over Dallas which may be referred to in the future as the "Moulson Game".
The Lightning have had a struggling season so far. At 11-13-2, the Bolts turn to their leading scorer Steven Stamkos (16 goals, 13 assists, to get them over .500. There is a defenseman the Lightning acquired over the offseason that has been putting points on the board in when he is in the lineup; hold on to your hats here Isles fans, but that player is Bruno Gervais. Gervais has 2 goals, 1 assist in 7 games so far this season for the Bolts and it seems as if he has found his fit in Tampa.
Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers showed something in their small west coast swing last week. Yes, they came back against the lowly Anaheim Ducks and won. Yes, they started strong and cruised to a win in Phoenix over the Coyotes. Yes, the team took care of business and did what they were supposed to do.
Was it a litmus test? In terms of the ability to win on the road after a long layoff and a plane trip longer than one in-flight movie, it was.
It wasn't news to anyone that the NHL would be setting up a new realignment plan for the 2012-2013 season. Plenty of speculation went into this idea as to how it would effect the current Eastern and Western Conferences. The Winnipeg Jets, although presently in the East, seemed to be a team that would make much more sense in the West. Rumors began to run that the Detroit Red Wings would move to the Eastern Conference, or even quite possibly the Nashville Predators.
The bigger question, and one that still looms over the hearts of many fans out in the desert, is whether or not the Phoenix Coyotes will still be in any Conference next year. They are currently in what seems to be the final year of their lease agreement after almost being relocated this past summer. There's still a good possibility that they might be relocated in the near future as well, but all of that remains in limbo as the 2012 season moves forward.
However, the NHL and it's Board of Governors could not wait to see what happens in Phoenix and passed a very dramatic change to the current alignment. The Eastern and Western Conferences will ultimately be removed next year; the standard two conferences that consist of 15 teams will become four conferences with either seven or eight teams in each one.
Matt Moulson scored the first four-goal game of his NHL career Saturday night against the Dallas Stars; it was also the first individual four-goal game of the 2012 season. As a result, the Islanders were able to hold on for a thrilling 5-4 win.
Although the win is what ultimately matters most for the Islanders, who took seven out of eight possibly points on their four-game road trip, Moulson was the recipient of this week's NHL's First Star honors.
Evgeni Nabokov was excellent in the Islanders 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night and earned another start against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, but he would never make it to the end as he left in the first period with a groin injury. Rick DiPietro came in relief for the win with fans left wondering how serious the injury would be to the team's most valuable trading chip. After being re-evaluated, Nabokov has been placed on the IR retroactive to November 17th.
Groin injuries can be tricky, especially for goaltenders. Although he is a forward, Nino Niederreiter missed near to a month of playing time after suffering a groin injury in the pre-season. ...