No Tigers In The Bathroom- Islanders/Flyers Pre-Game


The New York Islanders skate into Thursday nights game against the Philadelphia Flyers looking for one thing, and one thing only. 


Two points against a team that has won 22 of the last 23 meetings between the teams, including the last seven in a row.


The Flyers, however, will look to continue their stranglehold of the rivalry as the teams meet at the Coliseum for the second of six meetings this season.


In the teams first meeting on November 23, a 4-3 win for Philadelphia, the Isles relinquished a two-goal lead before succumbing to a Danny Briere game-winning goal. He also had the game-tying goal off a strange end board bounce that Rick DiPietro was unable to corral. In his last 19 meetings against the islanders, Briere has 12 goals and 12 assists. 


The Islanders are coming off a surprising 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The top line of John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo combined for 8 points (4 goals,4 assists) and carried the play throughout. Evgeni Nabokov was sensational in his 9th consecutive start and 299th career win. He has two or three highlight reel saves to kept the Wings off the scoreboard until the third period and the scoreboard in the Isles’ favor. He will likely be in goal looking to secure the 300th win.


The Flyers also come into Thursday off a win, 2-1 in Carolina. Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier scored for the Flyers. Both players, along with Matt Read and Jacob Voracek,are part of a strong youth contingent for the normally veteran-laden organization. Sergei Bobrovsky, starting in place of the enigmatic Ilya Bryzgalov, had 35 saves and continues to thrive when given an opportunity. Before the season the Flyers brass couldn’t have imagined that the goaltender signed to a nine-year 51 million dollar contract is being outplayed by a 23 year old with 70 games of NHL experience. 


There hasn’t been any talk about which goalie will play Thursday. The smart money is on Bobrovsky. He is currently 6-0-0 with a 1.84 goals against average lifetime against the Isles. He also played the final two periods and overtime in the teams only meeting in November, stopping all 23 shots and earning the victory.. Bryzgalov is 0-1-0 in 3 career starts with a 5.52 goals-against and didn’t look ready to play in the teams last meeting. 



Three Things To Watch For


  1. Special Teams- Looks like Doug Weight has a future in coaching. A point of emphasis in the off-season, the Power Play has looked great in the past month. Current converting at 20.2% for the season, 5th in the league. Jay Pandolfo returns to solidify an already quality PK unit. Josh Bailey and Matt Martin have been used heavily on the kill in recent games. They have created odd man chances and haven’t yielding a goal against his the line was created. The Flyers have a top-10 rated power play and can send out six or seven dangerous goal scorers. Stopping the Flyers on the man advantage means stopping Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell. They have combined for 12 power play goals and 17 assists. Jaromir Jagr, when healthy, has also contributed to a successful unit. Kimmo Timonen and Islander Killer Andrej Meszaros have booming shots from the point. Their penalty kill has been around the middle of the pack this season. Giroux is always dangerous to find open ice, but isn’t hasn’t been a strong point for them this season. 


  1. Philly-Busting-How a lead is handled?


The Flyers have won 22 out of 23 meetings, they have the Isles number. That being said, if the Islanders get a lead in the third period it will be interesting to see how Jack Capuano plays it. He had a 4-1 lead last night and continued to press for more. The last meeting against the Flyers they played a passive second and third period and tried to hold the lead instead of extending it. The games between these teams haven’t been blowouts in any way, shape, or form. Philadelphia seems to always just get that extra goal or extra bounce to take the two points. Seeing what this team does if a lead presents itself, especially off a confidence boosting win, will be interesting.


1) No Tigers In the Bathroom

 The Islanders played their most complete game against a perennial Stanley Cup contender. Fans gave a standing ovation, twitter was remarkably pro-Islanders and everything was all smiles after a commanding performance. News Flash!! Tuesday is over and it’s time to play another great hockey team near the top of the standings. They are known to have ‘Rangers Hangover’ syndrome after a game against their rivals. Detroit isn’t a rival as they may play once every other season, but there cannot be a hangover against a team that holds a seven game winning streak against you. Detroit didn’t come to play after a huge win in Chicago and were absolutely embarrassed by a team they should beat 99 out of 100 times. The Islanders have to play every game going forward as a playoff deciding game and it starts against the Flyers on Thursday.If the playoffs are even a thought, tonight will show how serious any talk could and will be.



Madonia Minute and Predictions!


Great effort on Tuesday and two huge points. My only point of contention is the coach..yet again. You are winning 5-1 and the other team has quit on the game and just wants to get on the plane to their next stop. Why on earth is your franchise player on the ice with under a minute to go in a 5-1 game? I know Matt Moulson could have scored a hat trick etc. Moulson isn’t a stats guy, he is always about team first. Get Nino some quality time in that spot during the late stages of the game. They have hindered his development so much already this season, might as well use him in low-risk spots like a 5-1 game. Capuano goes on to call a timeout after icing the puck. I understand that his players are tired but its a bush league call up 5-1. He already makes it a point to have his top line out in an already decided game and then has the audacity to prolong the game so maybe an opportunity for Moulson arises. Luckily, Detroit doesn’t have a true physical presence that would have taken a run at one of the top guys. Imagine if Tavares take a bad hit or a puck hits him in the face and he misses substantial time? if you thought the seat was hot...


If you read my pre-game on Tuesday i predicted a 4-2 win for the Islanders. My score was incorrect but for the 12th straight game I have picked the correct winner of the game. I will go for unlucky 13 tonight in a matchup i absolutely don’t like. You can’t go against 22 out of 23 but for whatever reason i feel somehow the curse of Rocky Balboa will be lifted, at least for one game. I will go out on a small limb and say 3-2 Islanders in an absolute barnburner. These games are normally 1-2 goals either way and i think this is the breakout game they need with a winnable game on Patrick Flatley night Saturday.



I will bring you the post-game recap as well tonight!