Flyers-Islanders Preview

The Associated Press

A game after continuing their surprising domination of a perennial Stanley Cup contender, the New York Islanders hope to end their misery against another.

The Islanders have won only once in the past 23 meetings with the Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia Flyers heading into Thursday night's matchup at Nassau Coliseum.

Philadelphia is looking to beat one of the league's worst teams for a second straight game, having defeated Carolina 2-1 on Tuesday.

While only the Hurricanes have fewer points in the East than the Islanders (15-19-6), only two teams in the conference have more than the Flyers (25-12-4).

New York, though, is coming off Tuesday's 5-1 win over Detroit, beating the Red Wings for the fourth straight time and improving to 5-0-1 in the last six meetings.

The Islanders haven't been as fortunate against Philadelphia, losing seven straight matchups and going 1-17-5 over the past 23.

The only meeting this season went to overtime Nov. 23, when New York blew an early two-goal lead and lost 4-3. Danny Briere scored the tying goal and the game-winner, and he has 12 goals and 12 assists in his last 19 matchups with the Islanders.

Briere had a hat trick in an overtime win over Ottawa on Saturday, but that's the only game of the Flyers' last eight in which he's scored. Top-line forwards Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr all have gone pointless in their last three.

Some unheralded rookies are trying to make up for that lack of production.

Sean Couturier has scored in back-to-back games, posting five points in eight contests after a 15-game drought. Brayden Schenn has two goals and an assist with a plus-one rating this month after going pointless with a minus-8 through his first eight games. Harry Zolnierczyk has a goal and an assist over the past three games - in just 20:45 of ice time - after having one point in his previous 22.

"I think it's nice that there's a few of us in the same position as rookies, and it's fun to have a bunch of people in the same boat and we're just trying to feed off each other," Zolnierczyk told the team's official website after assisting on Couturier's game-winner Tuesday.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves in that victory and is 6-2-0 with a 1.66 goals-against average in his past 10 appearances. Ilya Bryzgalov has allowed at least four goals in five of his last seven and has a 5.52 GAA versus the Islanders. Bobrovsky is 6-0-0 with a 1.84 GAA against them.

The opposing net is likely to be manned by Evgeni Nabokov, who would be going for his 300th career victory after making 23 saves Tuesday.

Nabokov has allowed one goal in each of the Islanders' last three home games - all wins. They haven't won four straight at Nassau Coliseum since midway through the 2009-10 season.

New York hasn't surrendered a power-play goal in seven consecutive games and has scored six in its last 13 chances.

Matt Moulson has two of those goals and has eight points in his last five games. His linemates also have been hot, with John Tavares collecting 12 points during a six-game streak and Kyle Okposo scoring for the third time in four games Tuesday.

"Kyle's a big, strong forward and Johnny's been playing some great hockey, probably some of the best I've seen him play," Moulson told the team's official website. "Those two guys are going and I just pick up some of the garbage I guess."

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