Winning road games against division rivals is never easy. It’s been near impossible for the New York Islanders.
The Islanders try to end a 10-game losing streak in Philadelphia and notch a rare road win against an Atlantic Division opponent Saturday night.
For a team that has missed the playoffs four of the past five seasons and failed to win a postseason round since 1993, it’s not a big surprise the Islanders (4-4-2) have struggled on the road against Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New Jersey.
The magnitude of those road woes, however, is alarming.
New York is 0-9-1 in its last 10 visits to Philadelphia, 0-8-1 at Pittsburgh and has lost six straight at New Jersey. The Islanders’ only division road wins under third-year coach Scott Gordon have come at Madison Square Garden against the archrival Rangers.
They lost their only division road game this season, falling 3-2 in overtime to Pittsburgh on Oct. 15.
Philadelphia (5-4-1) has dominated the Islanders of late regardless of location, winning 18 of 20. The Flyers won the first five meetings last season before New York ended a 15-game losing streak in the series with a 6-4 win April 1.
Their first visit of this season to Philadelphia comes at a bad time for the Islanders, who have lost three straight following a three-game win streak. They were swept in a home-and-home series by the Canadiens, losing 3-1 Friday two days after a 5-3 defeat at Montreal.
John Tavares(notes) and James Wisniewski(notes) were both held off the scoresheet Friday, ending their respective point streaks. Tavares had points in five straight while Wisniewski failed to record a point for the first time in eight games.
Philadelphia won at Pittsburgh for the second time this season, getting a short-handed and a power-play goal from Claude Giroux(notes) in a 3-2 victory Friday. Dan Carcillo(notes) also scored for the Flyers, who have totaled 11 goals in winning two straight at home.
Carcillo was scratched in three of the previous five games.
“I wanted to get Danny back in there because we are on the road, in Pittsburgh, and they’ve got some tough players in their lineup,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “He brings a physical element.”
Giroux’s two goals gave him a team-leading nine points, one ahead of Daniel Briere, who has eight goals and nine assists in his last 13 games against the Islanders.
An ineffective power play has been an issue for the Flyers, with that unit converting seven of 45 (15.5 percent) opportunities. They are, however, 16 for 41 (39 percent) with the man advantage during their 10-game home win streak against the Islanders.