Game Preview 43/82: Flyers at Islanders

Flyers' Morgan Frost
Flyers’ Morgan Frost skates during warm-ups. (Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)

Last night, the Philadelphia Flyers landed on the ocean floor. A 3-1 loss, despite a competitive effort, stretches the loss to twelve games. It’s a streak worse than the 1998-1999 season (at least ties interrupted losses.)

Both share similar opponents along the wretched stretch. The Flyers lost to the Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars, who they otherwise tied 24 years ago. Tonight’s host, the New York Islanders, is another team who haunted Philadelphia during the original twelve-game winning drought. The Islanders are responsible for back-to-back Flyers’ losses during this losing bender.

Losing thirteen straight makes this season the undisputed worst in franchise history. There isn’t much novelty in covering a franchise at its lowest, but the thing about hitting “rock bottom,” is that eventually, things begin to look up.

Here’s to figuring it out on Long Island.

New York Islanders (14-14-6; 34pts)

Ryan Pulock (lower body) and Kyle Palmieri (lower body) remain out of the lineup but don’t seem far off from returning soon.

Here’s the projected lineup for the Islanders:

Lee-Barzal-Czarnik
Beauvillier-Nelson-Bailey
Parise-Pageau-Wahlstrom
Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

Pelech-Mayfield
Chara-Dobson
Salo-Greene

Varlamov
(Sorokin)

Semyon Varlamov (3-7-1, 2.65GAA, 91.4%SV) held his ground recently against the Flyers. In his career, Varlamov is 8-3-2 versus Philadelphia with a 2.83GAA and 91.5%SV. He matches up well. During the regular season, the Islanders are 10-1-2 against the Flyers since 2019-2020. Yes, Philadelphia has as many victories over three seasons as they did in the 2020 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Noah Dobson (46.5%CF, 67BLK, 38GV, +3) earns tonight’s spotlight. Dobson hit Joel Farabee last Tuesday, knocking him out of the lineup. He’s on pace to have the best season of his career, playing strongly against the Flyers along the way.

Philadelphia Fly-By

Philadelphia is without Wade Allison (MCL,) Joel Farabee (upper body,) Kevin Hayes (lower body,) Patrick Brown (MCL,) Derick Brassard (hip,) Sean Couturier (upper body,) Nate Thompson (shoulder,) and Ryan Ellis (lower body.) Last night, Nick Seeler dressed as the 4LW. Today, it’s likely he’s replaced by Linus Sandin.

Here’s the projected lineup for the Flyers:

van Riemsdyk-Laughton-Atkinson
Lindblom-Giroux-Konecny
Mayhew-Frost-Willman
Sandin-Cates-MacEwen

Provorov-Braun
Sanheim-Ristolainen
Yandle-York

Jones
(Hart)

Martin Jones (6-7-2, 3.52GAA, 90.2%SV) will likely start due to the back-to-back scheduling. Jones is better than his stat line indicates against the Islanders during his career (3-3-0, 2.17GAA, 91.7%SV.)

There is not a single player that earns tonight’s spotlight. Instead, an entire line does. Morgan Frost (2G, 4A) centered a line with Max Willman (2G, 1A) and Gerry Mayhew (1G) that kept a relentless pace. They act as the identity line.

“Both Gerry and Willy are super fast players so I think we all kind of just said we wanted to play with speed.”Morgan Frost; 1/24/2022

Prediction

Again, these two teams scrape the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. Varlamov offers the best chance for the Philadelphia Flyers to steal a victory against the New York Islanders. Jones, lately, has been shakey. These games against the New York Islanders boil down to goaltender battles. Here’s to lucky thirteen, instead.

Islanders 2, Flyers 3

(Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)

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