Islanders Could Be Best Possible Matchup For Flyers

23 Nov

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers would be very thankful this Thursday if they could put an end to their losing streak on Wednesday.

They’ll head to Long Island for the first of six matches against the New York Islanders, a team that just might be the perfect remedy for the Flyers’ recent woes. The Flyers have lost two straight, both against teams they should have beaten in the Winnipeg Jets and Carolina Hurricanes. They don’t want to do it again.

“It can be a dangerous thing if you take them lightly,” said Danny Briere. “But after the drop in the last two games, I don’t think we can afford to take anyone lightly. I think these guys will be fired up. I don’t think they’ve scored in the last two games. Being blanked twice in a row, they’re gonna be ready to go.”

Indeed, the Islanders have had trouble finding the scoreboard. They haven’t found the back of the net since the second period three games ago. Sounds like the perfect recipe for the Flyers, a team that has allowed the first goal in consecutive games.

“It’s gonna be the same thing on our side,” said Briere. “We’re gonna have to find a way to get out to a better start. Giving two-goal leads in the last two games in the first period, you’re putting yourself in a tough position against anyone in the league. The games are too tight for us to give up two-goal leads.”

Once again, they’ll have a different lineup. Braydon Coburn will likely make his return, seeing as how Kevin Marshall was returned to the Adirondack Phantoms. An addition on offense will come in the form of Jaromir Jagr, who expressed his hope to be healthy enough to play on Wednesday night.

But part of the solution will be staying out of the penalty box. The Flyers have taken 20 penalties in their last three games and the penalty killers have felt the consequence. The Flyers have allowed five power play goals in that time.

“That’s always tough,” said James van Riemsdyk. “You’re always gonna have to take some, but we just have to figure out a way to get those mindless ones that we seem to be taking too much of.”

There is the belief that the Flyers have a reputation that accounts for a number of their penalties, but they say they don’t buy into that.

“I don’t know how refs treat other teams,” said Zac Rinaldo who leads the league in penalty minutes. “That’s a tough one. I don’t think so. I’d like to say no, but you never know.”

Either way, the Flyers need to improve. The past two games they were outplayed, and if you ask the coach, they wanted it a little less on Monday night against Carolina.

“I think they edged us in the competitiveness,” said Peter Laviolette. “Their want to win a game was a little better than ours and that’s no good. Can’t happen.”

They Flyers want to rebound and Wednesday night seems like a prime opportunity. Not only are the Flyers winners of six in a row over the Islanders, but also they’re 5-5-2 on the road. It may not be intentional, but the Flyers are a better team away from Wells Fargo Center.

“We try to play the same game,” said Laviolette. “Not sure if we do or not, but we try to. We don’t have two game plans.”

Reasons For Optimism

After the past two games, there haven’t been many reasons to be high on the Flyers. But here are a few as they try to put a stop to the two-game skid.

• Last time the Flyers played the Islanders in Uniondale, Mar. 26, James van Riemsdyk scored his first career hat trick. The Flyers won 4-1.

• Assuming Jaromir Jagr is able to go, the Flyers get an Islander-killer in their lineup. Over the course of his career, Jagr has torched the Isles for 59 goals and 82 assists in 91 games. He hasn’t scored more against any other team and it’s not even close. The team he has scored second-most against is Buffalo (41) and the second-most assists comes against Carolina (69).

• The Flyers have won the last six meetings against the Islanders and 21 of the last 22. Last time the Islanders beat the Flyers, it was an April Fools joke on Apr. 1, 2010.

• The Islanders haven’t scored a goal in its last 141 minutes and 45 seconds.

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