After a late stabbing last night in Pittsburgh, the Islanders try to regroup -- no, they must regroup -- to salvage something from this trip in Philadelphia, a place where the Flyers have a 15-1-2 mark on them since 2007-08.
With back-to-backs and no morning skate, we won't know if any of the banged up Islanders will be missing tonight; Frans Nielsen was the scariest possibility as he was on the receiving end of a vicious Craig Adams crosscheck in the final minute. (Uncalled, natch.)
The Flyers are, dare we say it, streaking. They have standings points in each of their last six (5-0-1) and are putting up 3.6 goals per game in that stretch, outscoring opponents 22-8.
Overall, however, the Flyers are still recovering from their awful and snake-bitten start to the season, so their aggregate 2.10 goals per game still ranks them 27th in the league (just above the Smurfs, Canes and Sabres -- all of whom, naturally, are at the bottom in shooting percentage too).
Metro: Still Stinking, Generally
The shock here on Nov. 23 is that the Flyers goaltending has not yet let them down. If that were to persist, it would basically solve a two-decades-long riddle that began back when Ron Hextall stopped being good, or rather what it took to be a good goaltender changed and pass him by. Anyway, their even strength save percentage is .940! That's currently fourth in the league! Flyers, huh.
That's still only good for sixth in the Metro Division, but of course seven of the Metro's eight teams are in the bottom half of the league anyway. Though many have recovered from their awful starts, the bottom seven of this division are still bunched together, separated by six points.
The annoying thing here is that the Islanders bring up that rear, and it's losses to teams like the Flyers, Capitals, Hurricanes, Rangers and Blue Jackets that have put them there and given each of those division rivals a boost.
Other Flyers stuff:
- Persistent Brayden Schenn trade rumors, since they are set at center for a while.
- His brother, Luke, finds life as a healthy scratch difficult. No kidding.
- Steve Downie is back with the organization that fits him best. He's on a line with Sean Couturier and Matt Read that seems to get the defensive conscience Craig Berube is selling.
- Berube, you say? The Flyers say they now get his system.
About Last Night
This is all true, but of course it's not enough to get it done right now:
"It's our job to prepare [the players] to work," Jack Capuano said after the game Friday. "I always judge teams by their work ethic, and our team's tonight was there. We outshot them, we outhit them, we had blocked shots. Our goalie played well enough to give us a chance.
"Special teams [stunk], and we made a mental error on the last goal."
Leave your First Islanders Goal picks for tonight's game over here.
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