Flyers vs. Islanders Preview
The Flyers look to continue their dominance of the Islanders when the Atlantic Division rivals meet Sunday in Long Island.
Philadelphia captain Mike Richards hadn't scored in five games entering the weekend, and the Flyers had totaled three goals during a 0-1-2 stretch. That all changed Saturday, when Richards' third-period tally put Philadelphia ahead for good in a 5-3 home victory over New Jersey. He also added an assist.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Flyers –170 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Islanders. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 82% of more than 73 bets for this game have been placed on the Flyers -170.
The over-under is set at 5.5. Matchups say that Philadelphia is 11-15 on over-unders this season, while New York is 11-13 on over-unders.
"I think any time you've lost a few games you look to your captain to step it up,'' coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think he is really on his game right now.''
Richards appears to have a good chance for more success against New York. He has 31 points in 34 career meetings with the Islanders, including a goal and an assist Nov. 6 in the Flyers' 2-1 victory at Nassau Coliseum. One week before that contest, Philadelphia routed the Isles 6-1 at home.
The Flyers (15-7-4) have won 20 of the last 22 meetings in this series overall, and eight of their last nine visits to Long Island.
Philadelphia hopes to improve a struggling power-play unit which has gone 2 for 41 over its last 10 games. The Islanders may be the perfect remedy, having allowed a power-play goal in seven of their last nine contests.
Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky benefited from the Flyers' offensive outburst Saturday, improving to 13-4-2. He stopped a total of 61 of 63 shots while earning both wins over the Islanders earlier this season.
Dwayne Roloson - 41 years old and in his 13th NHL season - took the loss to Bobrovsky and the Flyers at Nassau Coliseum, but has been one of the few bright spots for an Islanders team which has lost 16 of 17.
Despite a 2-10-1 record, Roloson has a 2.46 goals-against average. He took another tough-luck loss Friday as the Islanders fell 2-1 to the New York Rangers.
"I told him after the game that he gave us a great opportunity (to win),'' John Tavares said. "We can't ask for more from him than what he gave us.''
Tavares hasn't given the Islanders (5-14-5) enough recently. Since an Oct. 23 hat trick, the second-year center has three goals in 16 games. The Isles have failed to score on the power play in 10 games, and are mired in an 0-for-32 stretch with the man advantage.
Interim coach Jack Capuano is threatening changes if his club doesn't perform better.
"I'm not going to wait around with the same personnel,'' Capuano said. "If guys aren't going to do it, other guys are going to play. I don't mind not scoring on the power play, as long as they're doing what we ask them to do. If it's five defensemen, or five rookies, it doesn't matter at this point.''
The Islanders put a season-low 17 shots on net against the Rangers and dropped to 0-12-2 when allowing the first goal.