Published April 09, 2013
| Sports Network
The New York Islanders will try to boost their playoff chances on Tuesday, but they'll have to earn their first home win against the Philadelphia Flyers in over three years.
The Islanders enter Tuesday tied with the New York Rangers for Eastern Conference's final two playoff spots. Both teams have nine games left in the regular season, but the Rangers are idle on Tuesday.
The Flyers, meanwhile, are five points behind in 12th place.
Philadelphia had dominated the rivalry with the Islanders for many years, but New York has showed signs of turning the tables lately, earning a split in the last six meetings between the clubs. However, the Isles have lost seven straight and 14 of their last 15 home games in this series and the last time New York beat the Flyers at Nassau Coliseum was in a 6-4 decision on April 1, 2010.
The Flyers began this year's season series with a 7-0 win at the Coliseum on Feb. 18, but New York responded with a 4-3 shootout victory in Philadelphia on March 28.
New York enters Tuesday having won three of four and six of their last eight games. The club earned a victory in its most recent trip to the ice, notching Saturday's 4-2 home win over the Tampa Bay Lighting.
Matt Martin netted the game-winning goal with 6:26 left to help the Islanders rebound from Thursday's shootout loss at Washington. Michael Grabner, Andrew MacDonald and Josh Bailey also lit the lamp for the Islanders, while Evgeni Nabokov stopped 19 shots in the win.
Saturday's triumph was the third straight home win for the Islanders, who still have a disappointing 8-11-2 record at the Coliseum this season.
"We weren't happy with our home record, but it is something we wanted to battle through. We like playing in this building and in front of these fans. It was nice to get a win for them," Bailey said.
New York will visit Boston for its next game on Thursday before returning to Long Island for a two-game homestand against the Rangers and Florida Panthers.
The Flyers aided their postseason chances by winning a season-high four straight games from March 30-April 6, but that streak came to an abrupt end Saturday in Winnipeg. Grant Clitsome, Kyle Wellwood and Evander Kane scored in a 2:06 span during a four-goal second period, lifting the Jets to the 4-1 decision at MTS Centre.
"The first period went our way, in the third period the chances and shots were probably equal, but the second period is what cost us," said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.
Ruslan Fedotenko's tip of a Kent Huskins shot was the lone offense for the Flyers, who are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2007.
Ilya Bryzgalov was pulled after allowing four scores on 16 shots in two periods. Steve Mason, who was signed to a one-year, $1.5 million extension on Monday, made his Philadelphia debut and turned away all nine Winnipeg chances in the third.
The Flyers have lost six of their last seven games on the road and are 5-13-1 as the visiting team this season. Philadelphia is completing a three-game road trip on Tuesday.
Philadelphia has been saddled with injuries to key players lately, but it appears forward Danny Briere is close to returning from a concussion he suffered March 18 in Tampa. Briere has been practicing with the team and could play Saturday when the Flyers visit Buffalo.