Preview: NY Islanders at Philadelphia
When: 1:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 9, 2016
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Philadelphia Flyers have ignited their dormant offense over the last two games and could be in for some more good fortune on Saturday afternoon when they open a three-game homestand against the Metropolitan Division-rival New York Islanders. After mustering just five goals during a fruitless three-game trek through California, the Flyers have recorded consecutive 4-3 wins over Montreal and Minnesota.
Claude Giroux notched an assist in Thursday’s victory versus the Wild for just his second point in nine games, but scored two goals and set up another in two losses to the Islanders this season. The captain traditionally has torched New York, collecting 40 points (13 goals and 27 assists) in 35 career meetings. Frans Nielsen has fared pretty well against Philadelphia in his own right, scoring three goals, including two in New York’s 4-3 shootout win on Dec. 8. The 31-year-old Dane had recorded two goals and three assists during a four-game point streak before being held off the scoresheet in the Islanders’ 4-1 setback to red-hot Washington on Thursday.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, MSG-Plus (New York), CSN Philadelphia
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (22-14-5): New York’s defensemen are taking a beating of late as Travis Hamonic is nursing a foot injury while Johnny Boychuk is sidelined with an upper-body ailment. To make matters worse, blue-liner Thomas Hickey was on the wrong end of an illegal check by Marcus Johansson, resulting in a headache for the former and a two-game suspension for the latter. The Islanders reached out to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on Friday and recalled Scot Mayfield to provide depth for coach Jack Capuano’s charges.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (17-15-7): Promising rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere has been ruled out of Saturday’s contest due to a lower-body injury suffered against the Wild. The Flyers embraced having the 22-year-old in the lineup, as the team posted a 12-7-3 mark and averaged 2.48 goals per contest with him as opposed to a 5-8-0 mark and 1.80 output without him. Gostisbehere had scored the team’s first three overtime goals by a defenseman before Michael Del Zotto added his second tally of Thursday’s contest in the extra session.
1. New York RW Kyle Okposo, who sat out Friday’s practice with an illness, recorded a goal and an assist in two meetings with Philadelphia this season.
2. The Flyers’ 2.21 goals per contest is good enough for 29th place in the league, just ahead of Anaheim.
3. Islanders G Jaroslav Halak improved to 9-3-0 in his career versus Philadelphia after turning aside 60-of-64 shots in two meetings this season.
PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Flyers 3