As disappointing as the Philadelphia Flyers’ most recent game was, it would be an even bigger let down if they faltered in their next contest.
The Flyers look to avoid their first three-game home losing streak since the start of the season by winning their eighth straight over the league-worst New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon.
Philadelphia was unable to win its third in a row Thursday night, falling behind 3-0 after two periods in an eventual 5-2 loss to last-place Ottawa.
Despite a 36-23 shots advantage, only Darroll Powe and captain Mike Richards - playing after missing the previous three games with the flu - scored for the Flyers (28-16-9), who fell for the fourth time in seven contests since the All-Star break.
“I thought we created enough chances to win but we were chasing the game,” coach John Stevens told the Flyers’ official Web site. “For whatever reason, offense comes and goes. That’s why it’s important to always play defense.”
Philadelphia has been a good defensive team at home most of this season but has allowed 15 goals in losing three of its last four at Wachovia Center following an eight-game win streak there. The Flyers are in jeopardy of their first three-game home skid since an 0-2-1 stretch from Oct. 11-22.
A matchup against the Islanders (16-32-6), though, could help them avoid that fate.
Philadelphia has won 10 of the last 11 meetings with New York, including all six at home. The Flyers have outscored the Islanders 25-12 during seven straight overall wins in the series.
Richards has four goals and seven assists during an eight-game point streak versus the Islanders.
Martin Biron also boasts a 1.65 goals-against average in winning nine consecutive starts against New York. He has a 3.98 GAA while going 0-4-0 in his last five starts overall, but will be in net with Antero Niittymaki sidelined with the flu.
Biron has allowed just six goals on 99 shots in winning all three season matchups versus the Islanders, most recently 4-3 at home on Dec. 9. Since joining the Flyers in February 2007, he is 6-1-0 with a 1.98 GAA against the Isles at Philadelphia.
The Flyers are fifth in the Eastern Conference with 66 points - one back of the fourth-place New York Rangers. The Islanders, meanwhile, are last with a league-low 38.
New York has dropped four straight (0-3-1), including three in a row on the road. Thursday night’s 4-2 loss at New Jersey was particularly devastating as center Doug Weight was lost to a sprained MCL.
Weight, second on the Islanders with 35 points, is expected to miss six weeks. Top defenseman Mark Streit - the team leader with 29 assists and 38 points - sat out a fourth straight game with an upper-body injury and remains day-to-day.
New York could have used either player Thursday, as it fell to 3-23-2 when held to two goals or fewer. The Islanders were also outshot 50-25.
“We needed to put more pucks on net and get more offensive zone time,” rookie Kyle Okposo, who scored his 11th, told the Islanders’ official Web site.
Joey MacDonald made a career-high 46 saves against New Jersey, but is 0-4-1 with a 3.56 GAA in five career games versus the Flyers. Yann Danis is 4-1-1 with a 1.81 GAA in his last six starts overall, but lost to the Flyers in December.