The Islanders will attempt to snap an unseemly 14-game losing streak to the Flyers at Wachovia Center tonight.
The lopsided record gives the Flyers the longest active winning streak over an opponent in the NHL. The Islanders have not beaten their Atlantic Division foe IN OVER TWO YEARS. The last Islanders victory over the Flyers was two seasons ago, on February 12, 2008.
A win tonight for Philly would make it 15 and would set a franchise record for most consecutive wins over a single opponent.
"Any time you have trouble beating a team it can affect your psyche a bit, but right now we need wins no matter what," said defenseman Freddy Meyer, a former flyer.
"We've had a tough run against them the past couple of seasons, but we just have to come out and play our game."
And we know what to expect from a gritty, physical Flyers bunch tonight. Since the teams' last meeting, however, the Islanders (not known for their size or physicality to begin with) will boast even less snarl than before. The team will be without their biggest physical presence of the season--Andy Sutton--since the 6-6 defenseman was traded to Ottawa last week. Tough guy Tim Jackman will be back, but the team will also be missing Blake Comeau, who suffered facial lacerations and back pains as a result of Michael Ryder's hit from behind Saturday.
"There's no question that there's a mismatch from a size standpoint," Gordon said.
As mentioned yesterday, Bridgeport enforcer Trevor "The Gilldozer" Gillies (no relation to Islanders great, Clark)) is up for tonight's game to provide the Isles with some bite. Gillies was brought up the last time the Islanders paid a visit to Broad Street, but didn't see a whole lot of action (only 3:16 of ice time).
"That's an honor to be that guy they think of in terms of toughness," Gillies said before the game. "I'm willing to do that night in and night out. They have some physical players. My job is to be out there and do the same thing, neutralize them and make sure they don't take liberties with any of our guys."
Gordon said that with Comeau out, we can expect Gillies' stay with the team to be longer than last time.