New York Islanders @ Philadelphia Flyers - game preview
The Islanders looking to keep point streak alive with a win in Philly
Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 12:00 AM / News
By David Hochman
|Team Record: 21-22-8
Last Game: 4-3 SO L vs BUF
Season Series: 1-1-1 of 6
|Team Record: 30-16-6
Last Game: 5-2 L vs NYR
Season Series: 2-1-0 of 6
Certain expectations come with winning the “Mr. Hockey” award as Minnesota’s top high school hockey player – playing in the NHL is one of the main ones. The Roseau, MN native and Islanders defensive prospect, Aaron Ness, could fulfill that expectation sooner than most as he is expected to play in his first NHL game when the Isles visit Philadelphia Tuesday. The 2008 award-winner was recalled on loan on an emergency basis after a puck broke Travis Hamonic’s nose Saturday night. Combined with Milan Jurcina’s elbow laceration, the Isles needed support.
Ness, the 2008 second-round draft pick, has excelled in Bridgeport and contributed offensively when the time has been right. In his rookie AHL campaign, the 21-year-old has 17 points (2g/15a) and a plus-6 rating through 46 games. Ness ranks second amongst Sound Tigers defensemen in scoring.
The feisty Flyers forward may not be the flashiest player, but he knows how to get the job done. Known for his work ethic and gritty, agitating style, he’s found a way to contribute more on the scoresheet than in previous years. Sunday, Simmonds set a single-season career-high in goals (17) with a power-play marker against the Rangers. He’s racked up eight points in the Flyers’ last six games including goals in three straight.
In three games against the Isles this season, Simmonds has skated the line of toughness and discipline by not taking any penalties, but still delivering six hits and wielding eight shots. He’s also showing durability this season as one of seven Flyers who have played in all 52 of their games.
Supporting Cast: The Islanders picked up three of four possible points in their last two games with neither John Tavares nor Matt Moulson registering on the score sheet. Just as Head Coach Jack Capuano again began stressing the need for secondary scoring, Josh Bailey and Frans Nielsen found the twine behind Ryan Miller Saturday night, while Matt Martin and veteran defenseman Mark Eaton led the Isles to victory in Ottawa last Friday.
Philly Cheese Streak: After going winless in 13 games in Philadelphia from 2007-2012, the Islanders finally broke through in a big way last month, topping the Flyers 4-1 Jan. 19. With five years of frustration out of the way, a hobbled Philadelphia squad could be ripe for a streak going the other way to start.
They’re heating up: This isn’t NBA Jam, so no player is actually on fire, but the Islanders do have points in their last four games. The push for the playoffs is on with every player acknowledging that this is the time they need to come up big and win every game. That attitude and fire is showing since the All-Star break as the team seeks points in their fifth straight contest. The Islanders season-high point streak is six games (11/26/11 - 12/8/11).
The Islanders beat the Flyers in Philadelphia 4-1 on Jan. 19, the first time they had won at Wells Fargo Center since Apr. 7, 2007. Josh Bailey scored the short-handed game-winner, collecting his 100th career point in the process. Matt Moulson, Mark Streit and Michael Grabner scored for the Islanders while Matt Read netted the lone Flyers goal. Evgeni Nabokov made a season-high 40 saves, while Sergei Bobrovsky lost to the Isles for the first time in his young career. John Tavares recorded two assists, extending his point-streak to 11 games.
Click the photo for gallery from last game.
IslandersPower play: 19.75%
Penalty kill: 84.77%
Home record: 11-11-5
Road record: 10-11-3
Goals For: 122
Goals Against: 150
FlyersPower play: 20.6%
Penalty kill: 82.49%
Home record: 12-8-4
Road record: 18-6-2
Goals For: 172
Goals Against: 156
Check back after morning media availabilty for lineups.
Flyers (Expected) LineupsForwards: Hartnell-Giroux-Jagr; Read-Talbot-Voracek; Rinaldo-Schenn-Simmonds; Sestito-Couturier-Zolnierczyk
Defensemen: Timonen-Coburn; Bourdon-Carle; Gustafsson-Meszaros
Goaltenders: Bryzgalov; Bobrovsky
Aaron Ness on how he got word on his call up: “I got the call (during the game) and it was pretty good news. I’ll remember that Super Bowl for a while now.”
Cory Wright contributed to this story