Islanders Come to Town For Flyers Final Home Game
Philadelphia Flyers (21-22-3) vs New York Islanders (24-16-6)
Wells Fargo Center — Philadelphia, PA
7:00 p.m. on Comcast Sportsnet and 97.5 FM The Fanatic
Setting the Stage
This is the last home game of the 2013 season for the Flyers, who won't be back at the Wells Fargo Center until October. Prior to the game, they will hand out their annual awards to the players with Jakub Voracek most likely winning the MVP.
This is the final of four meetings between the Flyers and Islanders, with New York having won the last two. Philadelphia took the first game with a commanding 7-0 win on February 18. New York took the next two, a 4-3 shoot-out win on March 28 and a 4-1 win on April 9.
Both teams find themselves in unfamiliar positions at this point in the season. The Islanders clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday, currently resting in the 6th seed, while the Flyers failed to make the post season for just the second time in the last 18 years (2006-07 season was their last miss).
What to Expect
The Flyers are on a two-game winning streak, and can play the roll of spoiler. The Islanders are in the covetted six-seed, meaning they play the Capitals in the first round. Granted Washington is hot, they're the weakest of the three division winners by far.
New York is hot as well, having registered a point in all 11 games during the month of April (8-0-3).
Philadelphia is a proud team, and will finish this season off strong despite missing the playoffs. They showed that tenacity on Tuesday, man-handling the Bruins en-route to a 5-2 drubbing of one of the Eastern powers.
Jon Tavares' 27 goals and 46 points lead the Islanders. Matt Moulson has a team-high 29 assists and 44 points.
The Masked Men
Ilya Bryzgalov has been hinted to be the starter for the Flyers. This is likely his last game of the season for Philadelphia. He's made 39 starts, going 18-17-3 with a 2.84 GAA and .898 save percentage. It was an admirable effort all season for a goalie who was clearly gassed with over-use this season.
Kevin Poulin will get the start for the Islanders with them resting Evgeni Nabokov for the post season. Poulin has a 3.32 GAA and .880 save percentage in just four games (three starts) for the Islanders this season. Nabokov has started 40 games for New York.
Keys to the Game
1. Attack Poulin. He has terrible numbers and has played in only four games this season. The Flyers' offense can stay hot against him if they ramp up the pressure.
2. Have Fun. I know the situation they're in isn't necessarily fun, but they are playing loose hockey. Tweak some things and try to end the season on a high note.
3. Spoiler. If the Islanders drop out of the sixth spot, they could face a very tough Boston/Montreal team, or even have to go up against Pittsburgh. The Flyers may as well make someone's post season run miserable if they can't enjoy one.
"Yeah, thought that was a very good presentation and it’s unbelievable how the United States comes together with tragedies like this, it just shows how strong the United States is, and how closely grouped the Boston area is." -- Matt Read on the Boston tribute Tuesday night.