Tonight’s matchup between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers is one of two teams trending in opposite directions. While the Flyers currently sit in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, they are just 4-5-1 over their past 10 games. Meanwhile, the Islanders, nipping at the Flyers’ heels just three points back from that final playoff spot with three games in hand, are an impressive 7-1-2 over their last 10 games. If this trend continues, the Islanders will overtake the Flyers for the final spot much sooner than later.
The Flyers have been an absolute mess since their run of winning 10 games in a row came to an end in mid-December. They are just 1-2-1 since the All-Star break and their offense has gone extinct. What makes matters worse is talented rookie Travis Konecny will be lost for the next 4-6 weeks with a knee/ankle injury. However, they will get a shot in the arm for tonight’s game as offensive defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere will return to the lineup tonight after being a healthy scratch for Dave Hakstol the past three games.
The Islanders’ season has taken an unexpected surge. After looking to be down and out in mid-December, they have arisen from the depths of the Eastern Conference and are now surging at the perfect time of the season. They have gained at least one point in nine of their last 10 games, helping to propel them up the standings in the Metropolitan Division. They’ve been doing it with outstanding offense and timely defense as well as getting great goaltending from Thomas Griess.
New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Wells Fargo Center – 7:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – NBCSN, CSN-PH; 97.5 The Fanatic
2016-17 Season Series: Flyers 2-0
New York Islanders: 23-18-10 – 56 Points
Road Record: 6-10-4
Hot Players: John Tavares, Ryan Strome
Scratches: Stephen Gionta (healthy), Scott Mayfield (healthy), Cal Clutterbuck (doubtful, lower body), Travis Hamonic (IR, lower body)
Anders Lee – John Tavares – Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier – Brock Nelson – Ryan Strome
Andrew Ladd – Alan Quine – Jason Chimera
Shane Prince – Casey Cizikas – Nikolay Kulemin
Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Thomas Hickey – Adam Pelech
Calvin de Haan – Dennis Seidenberg
Philadelphia Flyers: 26-21-7 – 59 Points
Home Record: 16-8-4
Hot Players: None
Scratches: Michael Del Zotto (lower body), Travis Konecny (leg), Nick Schultz (healthy)
Michael Raffl — Claude Giroux — Jakub Voracek
Dale Weise — Brayden Schenn — Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read — Sean Couturier — Nick Cousins
Chris VandeVelde — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Roman Lyubimov
Ivan Provorov — Andrew MacDonald
Mark Streit — Radko Gudas
Brandon Manning — Shayne Gostisbehere
1) The Flyers are hoping to avoid being the first team in the NHL to win 10 games in a row in a season but miss out on the playoffs. A staggering statistic, to say the least, they are also looking to avoid being shut out for their third straight game in a row. By the looks of how they Flyers have played over the last month and a half, things just aren’t looking great for this team right now.
2) The Flyers might have found the antidote for a bad offense going up against the Islanders tonight. The Isles have given up 15 goals over their last three games, going 1-1-1 over that stretch after they had gone 6-0-1, only giving up 10 goals prior.
3) One thing that has always been a constant for the Flyers’ offense when they go through dry spells was their stellar power-play unit. Well, that well has dried up too. The Flyers have gone 0-for-6 the past two games and are a disappointing 3-for-32 over the last nine games, which is ironic because the Flyers’ Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux are all in the top-10 of power-play point leaders.
4) If one thing has been against the Islanders in their play over the past month is that they still struggle on the road. They are only 6-10-4 thus far this season on the road so the Flyers have some things going for them if they choose tonight to finally begin to turn their season around.
Flyers, lifetime vs #isles at home, are 77-33-11-6 (.673)
— Andy Graziano (@AndyGraz_SNY) February 9, 2017