Good evening hockey fans! Welcome to a Thursday night of Islanders hockey!
The Islanders come into the game last in the Atlantic Division (and 13th in the Eastern Conference) with 72 points. Technically, they aren't eliminated from the playoffs until they lose again or Boston gets one more point. But with only six games remaining, the postseason is certainly a pipe dream, to say the least.
So what do they have to play for?
Well, how about the fact that they've lost to the Flyers 15 straight times (the longest active losing streak by a team against a single opponent in the NHL)? The Islanders haven't beaten Philly since February 12, 2008, and tonight is their last chance to end the streak this season.
In those 15 games (including three overtime losses), they've been outscored 51-25, including 15-7 in five meetings this season. The streak is two shy of the longest run by one team over another in NHL history — the Bruins beat Ottawa 17 straight times from Oct. 12, 1993 until Nov. 9, 1995.
"It's not anything we're excited about losing all those games," said coach Scott Gordon, who has a win against every team except the Flyers in his coaching career. "But we're not that far off. We're certainly losing to a team that presents some challenges in a few areas. We're right there, we just haven't been able to finish the deal. It's going to turn eventually and hopefully it's tonight."
The Islanders, who have lost four of their last six, are coming off a 4-3 loss at home to the Rangers on Tuesday in a game in which they held a 2-0 first-peroid lead. It was their second loss to the Rangers in less than a week with a combined score of 9-3. They are 6-13-1 against the rest of the Atlantic Division.
Said Isles goalie Dwayne Roloson, who fell to 23-18-6 on the season, after the game: "It's disappointing, frustrating, everything else you want to say. That's the way we've played all year. We play one great period, then sit back. We'll play 40 minutes, 50 minutes, I just don't know why we can't play a 60-minute game."
They'll try to turn that around tonight against a Flyers team that comes in tied with Boston and Montreal for sixth in the Eastern Conference with 82 points.
The last meeting between these two teams was on March 9, a 3-2 Flyers win in Philadelphia. But it was otherwise a trying month for Peter Laviolette's club, as Philly went just 6-7-3 in March. That mark includes a five-game losing streak that was just snapped on Sunday in 5-1 win over New Jersey. Scoring for the Flyers was Matt Carle, Ville Leino, Kimmo Timonen, Lukas Krajicek and Simon Gagne.
Tonight, the Flyers will be without center Jeff Carter, who has missed the last four games with a broken foot. Carter leads the Flyers with 60 points (33 goals, 27 assists).
Winger Daniel Carcillo is also out, but he's not injured. Carcillo, who leads the highest penalized team in the league with 196 penalty minutes, was suspended for two games for a hit on David Clarkson of the Devils.
For the Islanders, Marty Biron (6-12-4) gets the nod in net. He won in his last outing, a 3-2 victory against Calgary on March 25.
The Islanders need some more production from their top scorers, as Matt Moulson has just one goal in his last six games, Kyle Okposo has only one in his last five and John Tavares hasn't scored since March 19 in Anaheim. That's left more of a burden on the veterans, like 32-year old Mark Streit (pictured). You can read more about that here.
Okay, that's all for now. But we've got plenty more to talk about tonight, so let's get the conversation going in the chat box above! And be sure to vote on the poll questions.
I'll be back after each period with updates.
We're about 10 minutes from hockey on MSG+!
End of the first period: Islanders 3, Flyers 0
Go figure, the Islanders haven't beaten Philly in more than two years and they get three on the board in the first 7:45.
Blake Comeau scored the first two — his 15th and 16th of the season. His first, at 2:11, was on a rather weak shot near the blue line, assisted by Tavares (his 25th), and the second, at 7:17, was on a pass from behind the net that deflected off Lukas Krajicek's skate. The assist again went to Tavares.
Here are some first-period stats...
Shots: Islanders 16, Flyers 8
Hits: Flyers 12, Islanders 9
Faceoffs won: Islanders 13, Flyers 9
Saves: Boucher 13, Biron 8
Power plays: Islanders 0-for-1 (Scott Hartnell was penalized 2:00 for tripping), Flyers 0-for-0
End of the second period: Islanders 4, Flyers 1
Still plenty of time left, but it appears the Isles' 15-game losing streak to the Flyers may be ending tonight.
In addition to adding an insurance goal — Sean Bergenheim knocked in his eighth of the year from behind the net off the back of Boucher's leg — the Islanders also killed off their first penalty (Freddy Meyer got 2:00 for roughing).
Former Islander Aaron Asham got the Flyers on the board at 12:26 with his ninth goal of the season on assists from Hartnell (his 30th) and Chris Pronger (his 44th). Hartnell set him up right in front of Biron with a nice pass from the right wing.
Here are the stats after the second period...
Shots: Islanders 26, Flyers 21
Hits: Flyers 20, Islanders 14
Faceoffs won: Islanders 24, Flyers 17
Saves: Boucher 22, Biron 21
Power plays: Islanders 0-for-2, Flyers 0-for-1
That's the end of the game, as the Islanders defeat the Flyers, 6-4, to snap their 15-game losing streak to Philly. The Islanders have won three of their last four and have five games left in the season.
Islanders: 32-35-10 (21-14-3 home)
Flyers: 38-33-6 (16-20-3 road)
Scores by period for the Islanders: 3, 1, 2
Scores by period for the Flyers: 0, 1, 3
Here are tonigiht's three stars...
1. Comeau: scored the first two goals of the game, his 15th and 16th of the season. It was his fourth multi-goal game of the season.
2. Sim: scored the Isles' sixth goal and assisted on the third and fifth. He has 12 goals and nine assists on the season.
3. Tavares: assisted on the first two goals of the game, his 25th and 26th of the year.
Okay, that's all for tonight's game. Thanks to all for coming out!