It was an embarrassing weekend on just about every level for the Flyers, losing to two New York-area teams and acting like idiots in the process. Hair pulling, slew footing, getting beat up by Ilya Kovalchuk. It was ugly. But it's time to turn the page now, and what better way to do so that with a game against our favorite whipping boys -- that other team from the NY area, the Islanders?
Sure, the Isles finally beat the Flyers last time they met, just a few weeks ago on January 19. The Islanders were far and away the better team in that one, but tonight is a chance for the Flyers to get back on track. Danny Briere's addition to the lineup is the biggest plus for the team, as it gives Peter Laviolette's lineup two legitimately strong scoring lines yet again. Oh, and Briere is almost a point-per-game player against the Isles in his career.
Hartnell - Giroux - Jagr
Read - Briere - Voracek
Talbot - Schenn - Simmonds
Rinaldo - Couturier - Sestito
Healthy scratches tonight, according to the writers at the morning skate in Philadelphia, will be Jody Shelley, Harry Zolnierczyk and on defense, Andreas Lilja. I still hate the idea of having Couturier wasted with Sestito and Rinaldo, but Laviolette apparently likes what those two bring to the lineup. They bring a strong, physical presence that has a place, to be sure, but they need to keep it in check a bit more. Nothing like we saw over the weekend.
Scott Hartnell hasn't scored in five games, but Claude Giroux has broken out of his slump of late and Jaromir Jagr has scored 142 points in 92 career games against the Islanders. Seems like as good a time as any for Hartsy to break that slump, huh?
Ilya Bryzgalov will reportedly start in goal yet again. Rebound, man.
As for the Islanders, they're still not all that good at the sport, but they've been red hot lately. A 5-1-2 stretch has been paced by the goaltending of Evgeni Nabokov, who's put up a record of 4-1-0 and a save percentage of .963 in his last five games. He'll go for them again tonight.
They've been getting scoring from more than just their top guys, which poses a problem considering the Flyers defense has been as porous as Swiss cheese. The Flyers really, really need to tighten up on D and in goal tonight.
Game thread at 5:30 p.m. tonight. Game on CSN and WIP, as usual.