There was a point in history when the Wells Fargo Center was a house of horrors for the New York Islanders. Prior to this season the Isles hadn’t won a game in Philadelphia since April 7th, 2007. That season-series was shockingly dominated by the Isles and while this year still has time to unfold, the Islanders, specifically Evgeni Nabokov have become a thorn in Philadelphia’s side.
Flyers record against Isles at home
06-07: 0-4-0, goals for: 8, goals against: 15
11-12: 0-1-1 goals for 2, goals against 5
Evgeni Nabokov is the reason that the Flyers have struggled against the last place team in the atlantic division. I’m convinced that he gave the Giroux-Hartnell-Jagr line nightmares after he stopped a combined 16 shots from those three back on February 7th, when the Isles escaped Philadelphia with a 1-0 win in a shootout despite being out shot 45-18.
After the loss against the Sharks on Tuesday night Jagr said that the offense has to “shoot quicker” and not wait for what looks like a perfect window to shoot the puck. He is right in the aspect that the offense works more fluently when rebounds are being fought for in front of the net, as apposed to having two forwards trying to pose as snipers. The tough scrambling goals in front of the net are going to be what the Flyers need tonight because Nabokov has already proven that he can withstand those types of shots.
Mixing the lines
I understand that Danny Briere has been slumping as of late, (goalless since his hat trick back on January 7th, a string of 17 games), but a demotion to the fourth line? Really? Pairing him and Couturier together seemed questionable, but Briere did seem to be fired up and played with more aggression, yet his potential to score was severely limited.
Another gripe that I had was putting Jagr back on the top line because of how good Simmonds had played with Hartnell and Giroux. Those three were able to continue having success on even strength situations and Jagr was finding success while being paired with Briere. It seems that sometimes Laviolette out thinks himself and makes changes because he wants to shake things up. At some point that will wear out.
The best part that came out of the four game road trip for the Flyers was the potential emergence of a more confident Ilya Bryzgalov. Even though he gave up four goals to the Jets and Flames, he had a good start against the Oilers and was tremendous, yes tremendous, against the Sharks. It was great to see that the confidence from the shootout against the Flames carried over in the flight to San Jose.
That confidence needs to carry over tonight because another home loss to the Islanders could put the Flyers back to 7th in the Eastern Conference.
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