Grabbing a win in only 1 out of your last 17 games is not the occasion you want to host the Philadelphia Flyers on a Sunday afternoon. They've had a couple of shootout losses lately (which are ties in my book) and were robbed blind by Tim Thomas' 41-save shutout, but the Flyers a're still the deep, skilled team keeping the pace with the Penguins at the top of the Atlantic. The Isles are 2-4-1 against the Atlantic so far, being outscored 23-17 through seven games.
Philadelphia Flyers (15-7-4) at New York Islanders (5-14-5)
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Mem. Coliseum
1 p.m. Sunday | NHL Network (Can.), MSG+, audio - WRHU 88.7
Living orange and rather well: Broad Street Hockey
Coming off a home-and-home sweep by the Rangers that dented that divisional record, the Isles are still establishing a new identity under Jack Capuano. Capuano appears to be giving the forwards a little more freedom in the offensive zone. He appears to be instilling a more passive, trap-ish approach in the neutral zone, and he's unquestionably angry about the powerplay's continued struggles.
At least Kyle Okposo has taken a significant step on the comeback trail. (Speaking of which, you should check BenHasna's FanShot on Mark Streit's progress: Rehabbing "intensely" but slowly in Switzerland, expecting to skate again in two weeks -- without stick or puck, of course. He still has a long way to go.)
- No change in the forward lines at Saturday's practice, according to the Islanders: [Moulson, Tavares, Parenteau] [Grabner, Nielsen, Joensuu] [Sim, Schremp, Comeau] [Gillies, Konopka, Martin]. I wonder if Capuano is enamored with Sim's Bridgeport success -- he had him in front of the net on the PP as well -- but seeing him on the 3rd line combined with the guys on the fourth line shows the limits of the roster right now. At least Jesse Joensuu shouldn't have to spend nearly 20 minutes in the box Sunday.
- Think Capuano will go back to Rick DiPietro, or does Dwayne Roloson get the start for limiting the damage Friday night? No word as of Saturday afternoon.
- Okposo's step, by the way, was skating in full gear for the first time. Said he to Newsday's Katie Strang [sub.], who also saw him doing pushups for the shoulder: "It's getting better. it's getting there, so we'll see how it progresses from here."
- The Flyers say Left Clown Daniel Carcillo is available for this weekend, though he didn't play in Saturday's win over the Devils.
- They are riding rookie of November Sergei Bobrovsky hard, too good effect, including Saturday's win. But last time they had back-to-backs, Brian Boucher got the call on the second night.
These afternoon games are always strange, particularly when the schedule is busy. So this post is the official preview, and if you don't see a game thread up by gametime, do the in-game chat drill here. (Separate game threads are basically for ritual and for making sure the system doesn't get slowed down by the comment volume that sometimes accompanies in-game threads.)
- Anticipating the WJC by reliving Nino Niederreiter's success at last year's event.
- No weekly prospect report on Sunday, thanks to the game. But WebBard will get to it early in the week.
- Sorry for beating readers over the head with personal info/itinerary lately, but since I'm a carpetbagger who doesn't get to visit often it's fun to meet up with fellow LHH people when possible -- the Puck Daddy gathering at the Irish Times was a fun chance to put some faces to names. So one more time: I'll be at this Flyers game in section 113X with WebBard and IslesOfficial. The piss-poor NHL.com Shop's heat-press on my NIELSEN nameplate isn't holding up well, so I might not have any identifying gear on. Or maybe I'll have the only blank 51 you'll ever see. (P.S. That also means the official recap here will be tardy.)