Good news on the injury front for the Flyers, injured center Danny Briere returns to the lineup after suffering a concussion in the January 21st 4-1 win in New Jersey against the Devils. According to head coach Peter Laviolette, having Briere back in the lineup it prevents teams from focusing on just one line. Briere’s impact should be seen by the end of the second period. The Flyers are 23-2-2 when leading after two periods and 5-0-3 when tied after three periods. 28-2-5 when not trailing after two periods is a solid record but the Flyers are just 2-14-1 when trailing after two periods. Wayne Simmonds has a three game goal scoring streak entering tonight’s game. He has four goals in his last three games. His goal on Sunday set a new career high for goals in a season for him with his 17th.
Something to watch tonight is the play of Claude Giroux. Giroux enters tonight’s game trailing Evgeni Malkin by 1 point for the most points in the NHL. Pittsburgh takes on Montreal tonight at the Bell Centre. Giroux should look to get some of his points off of the power play as the Flyers have scored in 7 consecutive games and their power play unit is fourth in the NHL scoring 20.6% of the time.
The Islanders come into tonight’s game playing some of their best hockey of the season. They are 5-1-2 in their last eight games 10-5-2 in their last 17 games, and have not lost since returning from the All Star Break (2-0-1). As a franchise they are chasing 10,000 goals tonight as they are currently at 9,996. If the Flyers thought they had a tough time getting pucks to the net this weekend with all of the blocked shots from the Rangers and Devils, they might be in for more of the same tonight. The Islanders lead the NHL with 883 blocked shots. The First Star of the Game from the January 19th loss was All Star John Tavares and he certainly has been playing well. Over his last 17 games, Tavares has earned 8 First Star Players on the Game, while tallying 11 goals and 15 assists over that span.
The Flyers have struggled of late getting their first shot on goal. Similarly, the Islanders have struggled stopping the first shot. The Islanders have allowed a goal on the first shot in 9 games this season and they are 2-5-2 when this happens. As the Flyers are 5-0-3 when the game is tied after 2 periods, the Islanders are 6-2-1 when the game is tied after two periods. As crucial as the first two periods are for the Flyers as their record is not good when trailing after two periods, the Islanders have been outscored 56-38 in the third period.
The puck drops tonight at 7:00 pm at the Wells Fargo Center. The game can be seen on Comcast Sportsnet and heard on 94.1 WIP.
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