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Flyers vs. Islanders preview: Afternoon hockey at the Coliseum

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The Flyers are on Long Island to take on the Islanders this afternoon.

Bruce Bennett

Slowly but surely, the Atlantic Division race is becoming a place where your Philadelphia Flyers are irrelevant chunk of space junk, and there's no better way to accelerate that process than to lose to the fourth-place New York Islanders.

Flyers_orange_mediumIsles_blue_medium
Philadelphia Flyers (6-9-1, 13 pts) at New York Islanders (6-7-1, 13 pts)
1 p.m. | Nassau Coliseum | Uniondale, N.Y.
TV: CSN Philly, MSG+ | Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
Get the New York perspective at Lighthouse Hockey

That's the threat that looms this afternoon when the Flyers hit the ice at Nassau Coliseum for a 1 p.m. Presidents Day matinee. The Flyers sit tied in points with the Isles, who have won their last two against rivals New Jersey and the Rangers. Philadelphia, meanwhile, is coming off two tough losses to Montreal on Saturday and the Devils on Friday, and they've played two extra games than New York has.

Somehow, the Flyers are still within striking distance of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, just three points and one game behind the Ottawa Senators who enter the day holding that position. But a loss this afternoon to the Islanders would place the Flyers firmly in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with another divisional game coming against Pittsburgh on

This isn't going to be typical Flyers vs. Islanders. New York is playing good hockey of late, led mostly by special teams. The Islanders are the second-best PP team in the league, converting on 27.6 percent of their chances, and on the penalty kill they've stopped 87.2 percent of the opposition's chances.

We know all about the Flyers' struggles on special teams, and even with the improvement we've seen on the PK of late, it'll be a tough task to shut down the Islanders power play. John Tavares has five power play goals on the season and Matt Moulson has four, so, you know, maybe don't give them chances.

We'll expect basically the same lineup we saw in Montreal the other night minus the expected change in goal. Ilya Bryzgalov will face Evgeni Nabokov. I believe the Islanders are wearing their third jerseys today, so if you have sensitive eyes you may want to listen to today's game on the radio.