Published November 20, 2014
Normally, a return home to face the Islanders would be just what the Flyers needed following a .500 road trip out west. But that was before New York found Philadelphia's number.
After dominating this series over the past handful of seasons, the Flyers now look to avoid a third straight loss to the Islanders in a meeting between Atlantic Division foes.
Philadelphia has dropped two in a row in this series following a victory in eight straight and 26 of the past 28 encounters versus the Islanders. New York's last two wins in this series have both come in Philadelphia, where it had dropped 13 straight, including a 1-0 shootout victory in the most recent meeting on Feb. 7.
Islanders netminder Evgeni Nabokov made 45 saves through overtime in that tight win and another two in the shootout. Frans Nielsen and John Tavares both found the back of the net on their chances in the tiebreaker.
The Flyers hope to rediscover their past success versus the Islanders and avoid getting shut out for the sixth time this season. Two of those came on their 2-2 road trip, including Tuesday's 1-0 setback in San Jose on Tuesday. Philadelphia was also blanked in Edmonton last Thursday and picked up wins beyond regulation in Winnipeg and Calgary.
Ilya Bryzgalov gave up the game's only goal 82 seconds in, but settled down to make 22 saves. Still, Philadelphia lost its ninth game in a row to San Jose and failed to win consecutive games overall for the first time since Jan. 10-12.
Flyers center Claude Giroux, third in the NHL with 72 points, was held without a shot for the first time since March 28 of last year.
"It's kind of tough, most of the shots from the defense getting blocked. We have to find a way to somehow get it in. Maybe we shoot quicker a little bit, I don't know, but don't wait until the guys come there," said Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr. "Shoot before, maybe we're going to get the rebound. We're waiting too much then you give the defense time to recover from the corner. We have to find better timing."
The Flyers hope that Danny Briere is okay for this contest after getting shoved into the boards head first by Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Briere stayed down on the ice briefly on the un-penalized hit, but did return to the game.
Philadelphia will play three of its next four at home and sits sixth overall in the East, one point behind Ottawa and just one up on New Jersey.
The Islanders will also be looking to shake off some disappointment after blowing a late two-goal lead versus the Capitals on Tuesday en route to a 3-2 setback in overtime.
Josh Bailey scored in the first period and Matt Moulson gave New York a 2-0 lead 2:16 into the third period after redirecting a Steve Staios shot. However, Washington scored twice in the final 3:29 of regulation, getting the game-tying goal with 25.5 ticks left, and won it at the 1:35 mark of overtime to hand the Islanders their fourth loss in five games.
"It's unacceptable to give up a two-goal lead that late," said Bailey. "I think breakdowns are a part of this game, but you certainly don't expect the outcome to be like that."
Moulson set a new career high with 54 points on the season, while Nabokov made 31 saves as New York fell eight points behind Washington for the eighth spot in the East.
The Islanders play the third tilt of a four-game road trip looking to avoid a fifth straight defeat as the guest.