Isles Look To Rebound Tonight In Phili

The New York Islanders will look to win the second game of a back-to-back trip against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.

Kevin Poulin is expected to be back between the pipes, who made some tremendous acrobatic saves against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night despite a 4-3 loss on a goal that came from Sidney Crosby in the final minute of the third period.

Defensive breakdowns would end up costing the Isles a very valuable point, as they were just a little over a minute away from overtime.

Thomas Vanek returned to the line-up with a bang, scoring two goals to help the Isles keep up in a close game. He will have to continue to be effective on the Isles top line if they are to rebound with a win tonight in Phili, especially since some of his teammates are not getting the job done.

Players such as Michael Grabner, Peter Regin and Josh Bailey continue to struggle, as all three have not found the back of the net since the first few games of the regular season.

Grabner, Kyle Okposo and Andrew MacDonald were reported to have been pretty banged up in last night's loss. However, Newsday's Arthur Staple reports that all three expect to play tonight.

This is a key, divisional match-up for the Islanders, as the Flyers were a team that were at the bottom of the standings that have recently revived themselves with some better play. They currently sit fifth in the Metro Division with 20 points on the year with a 9-10-2 record and a 6-2-2 record over their last ten games.

Meanwhile, the Isles have continued to slip downward, currently holding a 8-12-3 record and 19 points, having gone 3-7-0 in their last 10.

Disciplined play will be vital for an Islanders victory as they cannot continue to let the opposition connect on the power play if they expect to win. Special teams will continue to be a factor as well, as the Isles' penalty kill still sits as the worst in the league.

As a result, the Islanders will have to take advantage of any power play opportunities they are given since there is a strong chance that the Flyers will make the Islanders pay with their own PP units when given the chance.

When looking at the standings, the Islanders are only four points behind the third place New Jersey Devils and have plenty of time left in the year to get back into the playoff hunt after just passing the first quarter mark of the season.

A win tonight against the Flyers would make up some serious ground that they lost last night against the Pens and help them return home to Long Island with some confidence before playing the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.

Puck drop is tonight at 7 PM. 

-Rob McGowan

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