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Day 9: Back in the Metro

Friday, 01.17.2014 / 6:09 PM ET
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Road Trip Blog

The Islanders wrap up one of the most successful road runs in team history Saturday, as they close out their six-game trip in Philadelphia. The Islanders tied a club record with 16 points in nine road games and, having already won four-of-five games on their current trip, are setting the pace in the suddenly-hot Metropolitan Division.

As positive as the trip has been, Saturday’s tilt in Philadelphia is the most important game of the road swing, as the Islanders face the second-place team in the Metro standings.

A win, or pair of wins, in the home-and-home set, which concludes Monday at 1 p.m., closes the gap dramatically. After the Flyers games, the Metro teams keep coming; the Islanders head back to Madison Square Garden for a date with the Rangers and then host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

Playing outside the division has been a breeze for the Islanders, who are 9-1-0 in their last 10 against non-Metro teams. It’s been a different tale inside the division, but the Islanders have been a different team over the past few weeks since beating the Rangers on Dec. 20.

The Islanders are getting big contributions from first-year players Kevin Poulin, Calvin de Haan and Brock Nelson. Poulin has won six-of-seven appearances, de Haan had a career-best five-game point streak until last night and Nelson has scored timely goals during this run, including a game-tying goal Jan. 10 against Colorado.

The top line has been among the best in the league, as the trio of John Tavares, Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo have combined for 35 points over the past nine road games. Tavares (4g/8a) and Okposo (7g/5a) each have 12 points while Vanek has 11 (3g/8a) in that span.

Unlike the last time the Islanders landed in Philly, the Isles are one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference, having won eight-of-10, as well as eight-of-nine on the road. It’s been a fun ride for the Islanders, but it’s time to bring that free-wheeling road attitude back to the gridlock of the Metropolitan.

***

The Islanders left Tampa Bay today at 2 p.m. and landed in Philadelphia around 4 p.m. The team did not practice today and has scheduled a morning skate for Saturday morning in Philly.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 11 6 5 -3 11
K. Okposo 11 2 6 -3 8
F. Nielsen 11 3 3 -3 6
B. Nelson 11 1 4 -5 5
T. Hickey 11 1 4 -5 5
A. Quine 10 1 4 -1 5
S. Prince 11 3 1 -1 4
R. Strome 8 1 3 1 4
N. Leddy 11 1 3 1 4
N. Kulemin 11 1 3 -5 4
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Greiss 5 6 2 .923 2.46
J. Berube 0 0 0 1.000 0.00
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