We're getting to that point in the year where season series wrap up, and tonight another one comes to a close. Unlike every season since the Flyers bottomed out -- remember when Ken Hitchcock was in his second NHL gig? -- the Islanders actually have a couple of victories and an OT loss among this series' first five games.
(Thanks to NHL math, the Isles are 2-2-1 while the Flyers are 3-1-1.)
Islanders (28-31-11, 14th/E) vs. Flyers (40-22-7, 4th/E (5th seed))
7 p.m. | MSG+ | Audio: NHL - WRHU
Nassau [gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Mem. Coliseum
Where It's Good Ilya Week: Broad Street Hockey
And how's this for a surprise: Your leading Islanders scorers in this year's series are not John Tavares nor Matt Moulson, the 30-goal brothers. Rather, Kyle Okposo leads with four goals (4-2-6), and Josh Bailey is right behind him at 3-1-4. Next is Michael Grabner with 2-2-4.
In a season marked by offensive struggles, those contributions -- and those of Evgeni Nabokov -- help explain why it hasn't been another desperate year against The Other Orange.
Nabokov, by the way, has stopped 128 of 137 Flyers shots this year, which is a .934 rate. Stand back, regression. (Rick DiPietro was in goal for the 4-3 OT loss.)
On the other side, even though the Flyers once employed Brian Boucher, it is Ilya Bryzgalov -- suddenly in a good run of form -- who's angling for a franchise record four straight shutouts. If he had to pick an opponent to try it against, the low-scoring Islanders sound as good as any. I figure if we talk about it enough we can Howie away any chance of it happening though. (That's how that works, right?)
Matt Read leads the Flyers in this series with three goals and two assists. That's annoying, because the Flyers are rich enough without just plucking 20-goal scorers off the undrafted college free agent market. (Note: In J.T. Brown, are they hot on the trail of another?)
TPS Report-Friendly Reading
Oh, and one more Isles-Flyers comparison from Hornick:
Two NHL teams have led a game 34 times after 2 periods: St. Louis and Philadelphia. Both teams are 30-2-2 when leading after 2 periods. The Isles have led after 2 periods 24 times (15-1-8). That's only one fewer time than Pittsburgh (25: 23-0-2) and three more times than Washington (21).
Despite all that, I'm still gonna pull for a lead in the third period. That's just how I roll.
- Moulson of course credits his linemates for helping him hit 30 for the third season in a row.
- More musing about how much of recent performances are on Jack Capuano, and how much is on the roster he's dealt.
- Among other impressive things in the post, mikb figured out how to work the character for pi into a headline last night.
- FanPost: The regular season in the fantasy league run by LHHers has come to a close.
- FanPost: Agonizingly reliving the games that got away.
- You've seen the Moulson clip, but one with Frans Nielsen is forthcoming: New York Islanders - Islanders stars support You Can Play campaign - New York Islanders
- So, yeah, I'm guessing the Isles will have to stretch even further to meet cap obligations this summer: Gary Bettman: NHL is ‘business as usual’ in pre-CBA summer; no deadline for Coyotes sale | Puck Daddy
- In fact: NHL GMs barely mention CBA issues as meetings end - NHL.com - News
- Correlation, not Causation, but Good to Note: Don Cherry has it wrong: more hits equals less scoring in hockey, study says - thestar.com
- Tomfoolery: Adam Burish tosses Tanner Glass’s glove to Winnipeg Jets fans after melee | Puck Daddy - Yahoo! Sports
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks in this thread. The race at the top is still tight.