espn

Surging Islanders host struggling Flyers

NEW YORK -- While these are joyous times for the New York Islanders, these are frustrating circumstances for the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Islanders attempt to get their season-high fourth straight victory while the Flyers look to stop a nine-game road losing streak Sunday night when the Metropolitan Division rivals meet at Barclays Center.

New York put together three straight wins for the third time this season. Their first two attempts to get a fourth consecutive victory have not gone well as the Islanders were handed a 4-3 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 4 and a 6-4 drubbing at Minnesota on Dec. 29.

The loss in Minnesota was part of a stretch where the Islanders allowed 23 goals and were 2-3-2. The Islanders since have turned in eight out of nine scoreless periods under two different coaches to equal their longest streak of the season.

The streak began with a 4-0 win at Boston on Monday and it turned out to be Jack Capuano's last game as coach. A day later, Capuano was replaced by Doug Weight, who presided over a 3-0 blanking of Dallas in his debut Thursday.

J.F. Berube made his first start in more than a month Saturday and blanked the Los Angeles Kings for two periods. He wound up with 34 saves in a 4-2 victory that was highlighted by New York's first three power-play goal showing since March 29, 2015 against Detroit at the Nassau Coliseum.

"We're entering relevance," Weight said. "It's a good feeling in that room. They're starting to believe."

Anders Lee had two of those goals, giving him eight in his last 14 games. John Tavares set up Lee's two goals and also scored, giving him eight goals in his last five games.

The effective showing by the power play occurred after New York did not score on its previous 21 attempts.

"We were a little (upset) with the way things were going, getting opportunities but not finishing," Lee said. "Special teams are going to be huge down the stretch and right now we have the momentum, so we have to keep that going."
Thomas Greiss was in nets for the first two games and will be there again Sunday. He is 6-2-1 with a 1.89 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage over his last 10 games.

The Islanders played Saturday without Cal Clutterbuck, Andrew Ladd and defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who have missed the last week with injuries. While Ladd is not expected to play, it is possible Clutterbuck and Boychuk might return and if they do it's a group feeling significantly better about things than a week ago.

"Guys are playing with a little bit of confidence," Lee said. "When you start to get momentum like this, things seem to come easy to you."

The Flyers would like to experience the similar feelings as their division rival but little has gone right since a 10-game winning streak, especially on the road.

Philadelphia is 0-7-2 on the road since its 4-3 victory at Colorado on Dec. 14 and the numbers are not pleasant. The Flyers are getting outscored 36-12 in this skid, are 5 of 26 on the power play and allowed nine goals in 28 chances on the man advantages.

"Earlier this year when things went wrong, we fought through. Right now, the negative energy is a landslide," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said.

Those were Hakstol's words following a 5-0 nationally televised loss at Washington last Sunday. Philadelphia had five days in between games before Saturday's 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils.

The Flyers allowed four or more goals in five straight games and in nine of their last 12 overall. Steve Mason wound up playing the third period in relief of Michal Neuvirth Saturday and will likely play Sunday.

"If we want to rest on confidence sagging, that's the wrong answer," Hakstol said. "Our answer is pull together, dig in and get back to work."

Overall, it is not just on the road where things are not going well for the Flyers. Since the 10-game streak, Philadelphia is 3-9-3 in its last 15 games with faltering special teams (8 for 46 on power plays) and (12 for 49 on penalty kills).

Among the many reasons could be a scoring slump by Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Voracek and Giroux lead the Flyers with 41 and 38 points, respectively.

Since the 10-game streak ended, Voracek's production is two goals and six assists while Giroux has one goal and seven assists.

Giroux scored the lone goal of the shootout in Philadelphia's 3-2 victory in Brooklyn on Nov. 2 after Matt Read netted the equalizer for the Flyers in the final minute of regulation.

Philadelphia won the last four meetings and is 11-3-2 in its last 16 road meetings with the Islanders.

Related Topics:
sportsespnnhlphiladelphia flyersnew york islanders
(Copyright ©2017 ESPN Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.)