Flyers visit Islanders aiming to avoid third straight loss

The Philadelphia Flyers will try to avoid their first game losing streak of the season when they visit the lowly New York Islanders for tonight's Atlantic Division clash at Nassau Coliseum.

The Flyers have lost two straight on the heels of a three-game winning streak and Philadelphia has allowed a total of 10 goals over those consecutive setbacks. This is the third two-game skid of the season for the Flyers, who last dropped three in a row during a five-game skid from March 31-April 8.

Philadelphia hopes to get back on track against the Islanders, who are last in the Eastern Conference with 13 points and have lost six straight and 21 of their last 22 meetings against the Flyers. Philly has also taken three in a row and 10 of its last 11 tests on Long Island.

Beginning with this evening's tilt, Philadelphia will play five of its next six games on the road. The Flyers have a solid 6-2-1 record as the visiting team this season.

After losing a 6-4 decision in Winnipeg on Saturday, the Flyers were dealt a 4-2 setback in Monday's home test against Carolina. Alexei Ponikarovsky had two goals and an assist to lift the Hurricanes to the win at the Wells Fargo Center. Philadelphia was shorthanded on the blue line against the Hurricanes, as the Flyers were forced to play without defensemen Chris Pronger and Braydon Coburn.

James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist while Matt Read scored a goal for the fifth straight game for the Flyers. Ilya Bryzgalov was tagged for all four goals on 31 shots.

"They played strong. They battled back every time we seemed to get something going," said van Riemsdyk. "I think we took too many penalties. Obviously let some power-play goals up there and it comes back to bite you in the end."

Pronger, who is dealing with an illness, will not play tonight, but Coburn (upper body) is questionable. Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr is also questionable after missing the last two games with a groin issue.

Philadelphia forward Brayden Schenn was activated from injured reserve on Wednesday, but was sent down to the Flyers' AHL affiliate in Adirondack. Schenn, who was acquired from Los Angeles this summer in the Mike Richards trade, hasn't played since breaking his foot blocking a shot against Montreal on Oct. 26.

The Islanders have also lost two straight and were outscored by an 11-0 margin in those contests. New York has lost six of seven and 12 of its last 14 games overall.

New York ran into a buzz saw Monday night, as the Penguins and returning superstar Sidney Crosby pounded the visiting Isles, 5-0. Crosby, who had been out since Jan. 5 with a concussion, did not disappoint in his long-anticipated return to the lineup, scoring two goals and dishing out two assists for Pittsburgh.

Anders Nilsson turned aside 31-of-36 shots in his first NHL start for the Islanders.

"It's tough to be happy right now," Nilsson said. "I let in five goals in three periods."

The Islanders, who are expected to go with Rick DiPietro in net tonight, lost Mark Eaton to a sprained left MCL on Monday and the defenseman will miss the next six weeks.

All five of New York's wins this year have come on home ice, where the Isles are 5-5-1.