The New York Islanders are in Philadelphia for an early afternoon tilt with the Flyers. After getting spiritually spanked by the Metro-leading Washington Capitals (but hey, at least Johansson was suspended!), they'll try to regroup against a team that seems built and destined to be an also-ran, though they are hanging around in the lower end of the playoff bubble.
Regardless, the business of cleaning up the Flyers in preparation to contend again continues, and it got a boost this week when they were able to shed Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn to a team that has a better appreciation of life's great intangibles.
Lecavalier was hardly playing, so his departure means little for the on-ice product. Even Schenn lacked a guaranteed spot in the lineup, but regardless the Flyers have good blueline prospects in the pipeline who need roster (and cap) room cleared ahead of them. Now the Flyers have done that. (But about Andrew MacDonald ...) It's possible Jordan Weal, the undersized but talented AHL scorer acquired in the trade, could debut today.
Alas, the Flyers' most dynamic young defenseman and instant overtime hero, Shayne Gostisbehere, will miss this one with a lower body injury.
The Isles, meanwhile, face all kinds of lineup worries. Kyle Okposo missed yesterday's practice due to illness but will play today, Travis Hamonic sat out due to maintenance of what we imagine are several blows, and Scott Mayfield was called up from Bridgeport.
Mayfield will play, next to his Bridgeport partner Adam Pelech, and Nick Leddy -- who had partnered with Hamonic in recent weeks -- will switch to a pairing on the right of Calvin de Haan (who previously paired with Pelech after Johnny Boychuk was injured...got all that?). Oh, and Brian Strait steps in to spell 38-year-old (obligatory age mention) Marek Zidlicky.
Maybe a visual of the new pairings would be better:
de Haan - Leddy
Hickey - Strait
Pelech - Mayfield
Behind them will be Jaroslav Halak, with his second (consecutive) start since coming off IR. Thursday was a "shake the rust off" kind of night.
Enjoy your afternoon. Please...?
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