Islanders Matinee preview: Another trap game for the Flyers?

It's been a long, looong time since I could finagle "hockey game" and "Valentine's Day date" together with Mrs. Lighthouse, so I'm glad this Islanders-Flyers match is a day game (Still sending Sleek's card to her, though). Heck, in the "new NHL," the whole second period can pass before she's even dried her hair. {ducks}

Isles-w_medium          Phi-hub_medium

New York Islanders (16-32-6, 30th) at Philadelphia Flyers (28-16-9, 4th/E)

1 p.m. EST | [oughtta be Spectrum] Center | MSG+, 1100 WHLI

Enemy Flyers: Broad Street Hockey | Flyers Fan Central

With Doug Weight (knee, forever) and Trent Hunter (hip, day-to-day) still out, it sounds like the Islanders are putting both prodigal sons in the lineup: continual scratch Jon Sim returns, and Jeff Tambellini, who filled in for Hunter against the Devils -- with 14:58 TOI to lead all forwards -- gets another shot.

Which means the lines, as observed at practice by Chris Botta, could be interesting -- as The Kid Line is no more:

Sim  |  Comrie  |  Guerin
Bergie |  Nielsen | Okposo
Hilbert  |  Bailey  |  Jackman
Tambellini |  Park  |  Comeau

Yet another chance for Mike Comrie to show someone (whether the Islanders or a deadline/summer suitor), he deserves no pay cut. But a really big chance for Sean Bergenheim to be noticeable, effective and without bad penalties. I like the idea of crafty Frans Nielsen being flanked by Bergie, a body that hits everything, and Kyle Okposo, a big body who muscles anyone off the puck. As for Josh Bailey: good luck.

Now, why not give a Bridgeport prospect a chance instead of Sim, who cleared waivers this year? I'm guessing Sim returns to powerplay duty, since his body in front of the net is one way Scott Gordon has used him this season. And here's Gordon on the long-term effect of Weightlessness:

"I really haven't had a chance to think about that. Obviously, Dougie is a skilled guy. He's not a guy where you can call Bridgeport and expect to have a replacement for him."

I will give Gordon a mulligan on the "haven't thought about it" line, because I'm not sure of the timing (right after the game?) and context ("nice tie"). With two new bodies and a big, gaping whole at center and on the powerplay points (Mark Streit is also likely out), it will be interesting to see what Gordon does: Put Chris Campoli and Kyle Okposo as points on the #1 unit, perhaps?

Regarding the Enemy

I may have an update and a question swap later with Travis at Broad Street Hockey, so check here or in the game thread post before the game. But for now, know that the Flyers, with two games (still) in hand on division rivals, dropped two losses against last-place clubs in the past two weeks: Ottawa the other night and a 4-0 bludgeoning in St. Louis a couple weeks ago. Also? They've got goalie issues. Nice to have one area where the Islanders can feel better off.

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