New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers – Isles Have Revenge On Their Minds

Protecting home ice has been an issue for the New York Islanders this season, although the team has reversed their luck at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum of late.

The Isles (19-16-4) are currently riding a three-game home winning streak, the longest the club has enjoyed in their past three NHL seasons.

The Islanders will take on the Flyers tonight at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 7:00 PM EDT. For those fans that won’t be in attendance at the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike, MSG+ will carry the television broadcast and WHRU 88.7 will have the radio call.

New York will look to take advantage of its recent run of good form in front of their hometown fans against a struggling Philadelphia squad.

In what’s fast becoming a sustainable role reversal, the Islanders now occupy a higher position in the Eastern Conference standings than the Flyers. Despite perennial domination at the hands of the Flyers in recent years, the Islanders have played their divisional rivals to a 1-1-0 record on the year.

Perhaps added motivation for the Isles tonight will come from the 7-0 loss they suffered against the Flyers in Uniondale on Feb. 18. An embarrassing defeat at home like that will certainly be on the minds of the Islanders players as they take the ice.

The Flyers (17-18-3) are trying to avoid missing the postseason for the first time since the 2006-07 campaign, which was – ironically – the last time the Islanders made the playoffs.

Things are looking up for New York, which is 6-1-1 in its last eight games overall.

A loss by the in-state rival New York Rangers on Monday leaves them tied with the Islanders on points (42) and ROW – regulation plus overtime wins – (16) at a critical juncture in the season.

If the Isles can take care of business, they will be in the playoffs at season’s end. The team is in control of its own destiny for the first time in years.

New York has been riding its superstar all season, centerman John Tavares, who has 23 goals and 17 assists on the year. Although his quality of play has been somewhat diminished – by his astronomical standards – recently, Tavares still ranks third in the NHL in goals scored and is 10th in the league in points.

Tavares scored a goal and recorded three shots on goal in his last game against Philadelphia on March 28.

Tavares might get a boost from left winger Matt Moulson, who is expected back in the lineup tonight after missing Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning because of the flu.

If the Isles top line can get on the board, a victory will likely be in the cards.

Tonight’s game is New York’s chance to exercise some demons against the team that has owned them for so long. But if history is to be believed, the Isles will have a tough time beating the Flyers.

Fortunately for the Isles, however, this edition of the team isn’t playing like those New York teams of recent history. In fact, the Isles have been rewriting the history books lately, much to the delight of their fans.

Projected lineup...

1st line: Moulson -- Tavares -- Boyes
2nd line: Bailey -- Nielsen -- Okposo
3rd line: Grabner -- Aucoin -- McDonald
4th line: Cizikas -- Joensuu – Martin

1st D-pair: Hamonic -- MacDonald
2nd D-pair: Hickey -- Visnovsky
3rd D-pair: Streit -- Martinek

Goal: Nabokov
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Be sure to follow @TCLIsles on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Islanders news and notes, and ‘Like’ The Checking Line – Isles Edition on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @MichaelWillhoft or shoot me an email at michael.willhoft@gmail.com