The suddenly heated rivalry is a good thing for Flyers fans. Flyers/Islanders games of the past had been less than enthralling. The bitterness will definitely change that.
The Flyers are riding a 5 game win streak and a hot goalie coming into this game. Sergei Bobrovsky, who I thought might get the night off to rest for a big game tomorrow against Washington but will in fact start tonight, has played well all year for the club but has really come into his own and shined his last 5 starts. Pelle Lindbergh holds the Flyers record for most consecutive wins for a rookie goaltender at 7. Bobrovsky looks to tie that by the end of Sunday. Andreas Nodl is back from injury tonight and has bumped James van Reimsdyk from the lineup. JVR has yet to score but has 4 assists this year. Many fans are concerned with his production. But I am not. JVR will most likely follow the path of fellow New Jersey native, power forward and second overall pick Bobby Ryan, which means it may be another year before he grows into his body fully and sees big production. Plus with the Flyers’ offense playing well his lack of scoring is not hurting the team. His defense, passing and board work have greatly improved and that helps the team every night. Hopefully a night or two off will jump-start his production on his return.
The New York Islanders have 10 points in 13 games and sit 13th in the Eastern Conference. They are a young team with solid promise. This year has been much like many of the past– a year of growing pains. Rick DiPietro has never been the same since his injuries, posting a 4.21 gaa. John Tavares has 9 points in 10 games and is the only true bright spot on Long Island.
If the Flyers’ D can keep Tavares off the board, they should easily be able to handle the Islanders, much like they have for the past two years.
Wild card: Depending on how the Flyers and Islanders handle their aggression, one team may see an influx of PP opportunities. This could swing the game either way and make it a blow out real fast. Discipline is the key of the game tonight.
Star of the Game: Daniel Briere.
Despite the fact he will be sitting in the Press box all game, Daniel Briere gave the game tonight a level of excitement that usually does not accompany a Flyers/Islanders match.
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