New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers: Pre-Game Report


Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eyes On Isles Pregame Report

Tonight, the New York Islanders (8-12-3, 19 points) visit the Philadelphia Flyers (9-10-2, 20 points) in game no. 24 of the 2013-14 NHL season. Here’s what you need to know before the puck drops.

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

When: Saturday, November 23, 2013, 7:00PM

TV: MSG+ (Howie Rose, Butch Goring)

Radio: 88.7 FM WRHU, 103.9 FM WRCN (Chris King)

The Islanders are mired in a slump that has seen them lose seven of their last nine games. Tonight, a short journey to Philadelphia gives the team a chance to get out of the cellar of the Metropolitan division.

This will be the second meeting between the two sides this season. The Flyers beat the Islanders 5-2 at the Coliseum on Oct. 26, a day after the Islanders took down the Penguins in Pittsburgh in what was labeled as a huge let-down.

Thomas Vanek provided plenty of fireworks in his return last night from an upper body injury, scoring two goals in the Islanders’ loss in Pittsburgh. Last night was just another instance of a game lost in the third period. For an Islanders team that now has the experience of a playoff run, closing games is imperative. The fact that they are having so much trouble pulling out wins in the third period is truly alarming.

The Flyers have won five of their last six, including a 4-1 win last night over the Buffalo Sabres where right winger Matt Read scored a pair of goals.

Kevin Poulin will most likely start his sixth straight game as there might be a “must-win” mindset in the Islanders locker room. The defense has been arguably one of the worst in the league and simply stating that the unit is banged up and missing pieces. Poulin has been nothing short of solid, but he can only do so much.

What They’re Saying

“We outshot them, outhit them, we blocked shots, Pouls played well enough to win and we make a mental mistake and lose it. We had the effort. It’s frustrating to battle that hard and come away with nothing.”

-Islanders head coach Jack Capuano

“We’re having fun out there, doing simple things, not turning pucks over and just playing simple hockey. We’re a good team, and it just takes a matter of time and a coupl eof lucky bounces to get a positive atmosphere and get things clicking and going out way.”

-Flyers  RW Matt Read

Quick Hitters

– John Tavares is stied for second in the league in points with 26. He recorded an assist in last night’s loss to Pittsburgh.

– Casey Cizikas has recorded a point in each of his last four games. He had an assist on Colin McDonald’s goal last night.

– The Islanders’ defense has allowed  three or more goals in four straight games. In total, the team has given up 16 in total. The team is 1-3 in that stretch.

– To continue on the defensive woes, the Islanders rank 28th in the league, allowing 3.26 goals per game this season. Only the Oilers and Flames have given up more.

– Still no timetable on defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky. There hae been reports that he is still experiencing concussion symptoms as current as four days ago.

Projected Lineup

26 Thomas Vanek – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo

12 Josh Bailey – 51 Frans Nielsen – 13 Colin McDonald

40 Michael Grabner – 29 Brock Nelson – 15 Cal Clutterbuck

36 Eric Boulton – 53 Casey Cizikas – 17 Matt Martin

47 Andrew MacDonald – 3 Travis Hamonic

14 Thomas Hickey – 46 Matt Donovan

4 Radek Martinek – 7 Matt Carkner

Scratches: 55 Aaron Ness, 16 Peter Regin, 96 Pierre Marc-Bouchard

Injured Reserve: 11 Lubomir Visnovsky, 20 Evgeni Nabokov, 37 Brian Strait

60 Kevin Poulin

45 Anders Nilsson