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New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers: A series begins [Game #31]

If the Islanders don’t extend Philly’s losing streak, just give up all hope.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers
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It’s a home-and-home, back-to-back with a division rival! It’s 1980s style! It’s a four-point, no, an eight-point swing, maybe!

Except the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers are both in an ugly place, mopping up the bottom of the Metro Division. If one of them is swept (in regulation) in this two-game set, they’ll be able to put another nail in their own coffin.

The Flyers, in some respects, are already there, with a .446 points percentage through 37 games, 13 points out of the wild card, riding an eight-game winless streak.

The Islanders (.467, 28 points from 30 games), having played fewer games and feeling more like “We’re actually a contender, we’ve just had some...situations,” are still in the mindset that if they just do all the right things, consistently and repeatedly enough, they’ll eventually get back there. It’s a tough case to make in any season, but especially in this season when the Penguins and Bruins are holding the two wild cards slots to such a high standard.

The Islanders have been better, relatively speaking, over the past two postponement-rich months, largely collecting points against some weaker teams. So Saturday’s 2-0 loss against the Capitals was a thud; but this stretch leading to the All-Star Weekend features lots of chances against weak the Flyers, who will also visit a week from tomorrow.

  • Kyle Palmieri and Ryan Pulock are still out.
  • Semyon Varlamov played last, and looked good against the Capitals, but Ilya Sorokin gets the start tonight. Presumably they will split this back-to-back. The Isles will have the pleasure of shooting on Martin Jones at the other end.

For updates on this season’s flavor of Flyers misery, visit Broad Street Hockey.