(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Islanders will try to strengthen their lead atop the Metropolitan Division on Monday afternoon in their final game before the All-Star break as they host the rival Philadelphia Flyers.
The Islanders hold a three-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the division after seeing a four-game win streak come to an end with Saturday's 6-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The Pens are idle before visiting the Flyers on Tuesday, while the Isles aren't back in action following today until after this weekend's All-Star game.
All-Star Jaroslav Halak had a rare poor performance on Saturday, tagged for six goals on 33 shots faced before getting lifted late in the game. Halak had made 21 saves in a win over the Penguins the previous night.
John Tavares and Kyle Okposo each notched a goal and an assist for the Islanders. Okposo scored four goals in the 6-3 win over the Pens.
"We mismanaged the puck in two periods, had 17 giveaways," said Islanders coach Jack Capuano. "We didn't have our transition game tonight, but I give them credit, they moved the puck well tonight and their power play executed as it should."
The Flyers hope to secure a big win today and keep their offense on track following a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. Philadelphia was shut out in consecutive games going in and snapped a scoreless streak of 168 minutes and 50 seconds with R.J. Umberger's second-period tally 3:51 into the frame.
It was Philadelphia's first goal since the second period of last Monday's 7-3 win over Tampa Bay.
Mark Streit also scored and Chris VandeVelde and Michael Raffl scored third- period tallies.
"We have a group of guys here that love scoring goals and some of the guys do it often. To go a couple of games without scoring, it definitely feels long," Umberger said.
Rob Zepp came up with 24 saves, as he made his third start and fourth appearance in four games since No. 1 Steve Mason went down with a sprained right knee.
Zepp, a 33-year-old rookie, is 3-1-0 with a 2.38 goals against average and .904 save percentage in five games (4 starts) on the season for the Flyers, who are 11 points out of a wild card spot.
Halak is 5-2-0 in his career against Philadelphia with a 1.91 GAA, .936 save percentage and two shutouts in seven meetings. He made 21 saves in a 1-0 shootout victory at home over the Flyers on Nov. 24, which was the first of four meetings between the clubs this season.
Mason made 46 saves, but yielded shootout goals to Frans Nielsen and Tavares as the Isles beat the Flyers for the third time in the past four encounters on Long Island.