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New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers: Andrew MacDonald returns, finds a much-improved team

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Thank Bossy Philly pays more.

SOMEone stop this man...
SOMEone stop this man...
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

A busy November and busy Metro-filled holiday schedule continues as the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at Nassau Coliseum. The storylines are endless:

  • The Isles are tied for first in the Metro, with them even ranking number one this week according to one national site that kind of covers hockey and another site that used to be the hockey standard, back before mobile phones.
  • After an emotional sweep of the Penguins, you can actually view the Flyers as "a trap game" now.
  • Oh, and in addition to former captain Mark Streit returning again, this is the first meeting with Andrew MacDonald in the wrong kind of orange.

Flyers (8-9-2, 6th/Metro) @ Islanders (14-6-0, t-1st/Metro)
7 p.m. EST | MSG+ | WRHU/WRCN
Nassau [
gloriously unsponsored] Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Phace of the Flyer: Broad Street Hockey

Game Notes
  • Expect Steve Mason in goal for Philly, Jaroslav Halak for the Isles.
  • Evidently the Flyers will go with seven defensemen, having resurrected Carlo Colaiacovo.
  • The Flyers have struggled overall -- it's the defense! -- but one guy who hasn't is Jakub Voracek, now leading the league with 29 points.
  • I've learned this year that the crazies come out even during the good times. But it's fun to see a division rival suffering, drawing out rants like this: When is Giroux going to start playing like a captain? - [lampooned FanPost at BSH]
  • 19 games into the season, the Flyers PK is still killing at just 71.9%, several points behind the Isles, whose PK numbers still haven't fully recovered from the opening weeks.

In a piece that amusingly rips the Streit and MacDonald asset management trades and says "no one" saw the Isles rebirth coming, Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly also provided these quotes from MacDonald:

MacDonald was there for some lean times and wanted out. Snow had to trade him because he wasn’t going to re-sign.

"Obviously, when things aren’t going well you kind of wonder what’s going on," MacDonald said. "In that type of situation you’re not looking outside of your team. You look at what you have in the room and what you can do to win every night.

"I don’t think it’s a situation where you dwell on those sorts of things. You don’t really think, 'Where is this team going?' or anything, you just go out there with the team you have and do your best to win. That’s your job as players."

The Isles are never a true player in free agency, either.

"They weren’t a team that would go out and sign big free agents or anything like that," MacDonald said. "You could kind of see that they would sign a few depth guys and slowly bring along their guys in the minors.

"I think it was difficult there for a few years. The team struggled, but at the same time I think they must be pleased with what their product is and that they waited and let it mature and so far, so good for them.

Glad to see it's worked out for the best for all concerned. The Isles used one of the picks from the MacDonald trade as part of the package to acquire Johnny Boychuk.

MacDonald's longtime blueline partner Travis Hamonic on MacDonald:

Compton had more from MacDonald and Jack Capuano for the game preview:

"I think anytime you're in a position where you're in a place and you want to stay, it kind of looks like the writing's on the wall and you're going to get moved, it takes its toll on you," MacDonald said. "But that's part of being a professional hockey player and being an athlete. You have to realize that something's going to happen.

"I made a lot of good friends and a lot of great connections through the organization. They gave me my opportunity and I was grateful for that. Things didn't work out in the end, but I think both sides have moved on. We're on opposite sides now."

Even though things didn't work in New York, MacDonald's former colleagues are happy to see him doing well. MacDonald signed a six-year contract with the Flyers on April 15 worth $30 million. He sustained a lower-body injury earlier this season that kept him out of action for about a month, but he returned to the lineup last Thursday and is expected to be one of Philadelphia's top defensemen, much like he was for the Islanders.

"He and I were together for a long time," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "When guys move on, no different than [Matt] Moulson or [PA] Parenteau or [MacDonald] or Mark Streit for that matter, you want them to have success and move on. They were loyal soldiers for us, they worked extremely hard, they were great to coach, they're great people and you want to see them have success. I'm glad that A-Mac got what we got."

Much more in that piece. Again, glad everyone's happier and richer now!

R.I.P., Big Irish

You may have heard, longtime NHL coach Pat Quinn died last night. Among several stops, he was coach of the Leafs for that seven-game series against the Isles in 2002, and coach of the Flyers when the Isles beat them for their first Stanley Cup in 1980.

The Islanders captain was among many tweeting memories and tributes:

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Leave your First Islanders Goal picks here by game time. I told you guys to pick Martin last time, but no. No one listens...