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Islanders Matinee: Get Kyle to 20 goals, please

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Today's game shouldn't matter to us. John Tavares (no, Victor Hedman!), NO, John TAVARES -- whoever, one of them -- is ours. The Islanders have two home games this weekend to go out on a partying good note, to leave fans with a warm-and-fuzzy feeling after a season of injury (600+ 575 man-games...) and pain.

Phi-hub_medium             Nassau-square_medium

Philadelphia Flyers (43-26-11, 4th/E) at New York Islanders (Tavare-0-Hedman)

2 p.m. EDT | Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum | MSG+

Flyers on SBN: Broad Street Hockey

One way to get that warm-and-fuzzy would be to get Kyle Okposo, who returns from injury today, a couple of biscuits to bring his season's tally to 20. The Islanders don't have a 20-goal scorer, since they shipped one off to Pittsburgh for a 5th 4th, to become a 3rd if the Pens behave.

I would make a joke about their scoring prowess, but the fact is a look at their stat sheet shows you just ONE FREAKING PLAYER who has played in as many as 70 games this season. Talk about injury carnage. Kind of hard for anyone to rack up scoring numbers when no one can even rack up games played.

So yeah, please set up Okposo -- a lot -- and bring his tally to 20. That would be nice. Also: sitting at 197 goals for on the season, it'd be nice if the Islanders could collect a minimum of three to change that number.

But it won't be easy. In addition to the Islanders' typically injury-massacred lineup, the Flyers actually have something to play for: They can secure home ice in the first round of the playoffs if they win out. What do ya' say boys ... let's try to make that difficult, mmkay?

A Few Links for the Hell of It

  • Islesblogger Mike and Tiger Track Tom each took in the Bridgeport Sound Tigers game last night. Check their live blogs for a taste of the farm -- and a taste of a (baby) Islanders playoff team.
  • Newsday has Scott Gordon on this season: "The first two months felt like three years." Pretty much, yeah.
  • Forever1940 points out that today is the anniversary of two massive games from Islanders history.
  • The official site's bit on the Sarnia signings (Mark Katic and Justin DiBenedetto)
  • This is funny: ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, who I normally enjoy, did West and East "offseason makeovers" for the non-playoff teams. Except that's a poor headline, because they weren't so much makeovers as assessments (usually: "Things are bad here.") The Islanders briefing is particularly bad -- essentially (my paraphrasing): "Tavares. Some good young forwards. DiPietro a question."). Thanks for that. I was sort of hoping for a plan, maybe even a cocktail-napkin acquisition suggestion, but no ... nothing.

This is your preview/game thread combo. Go Isles.