The Philadelphia Flyers have been playing well since hosting and losing the Winter Classic, especially at home. A visit from the New York Islanders on Thursday night doesn’t figure to stop that momentum.
Philadelphia looks for its 27th victory in 29 meetings with New York as it tries to extend its winning streak to a season-best four at home, where it has defeated the Islanders 13 straight times.
The Flyers improved to 26-2-0 against New York since the beginning of the 2007-08 season with a 3-2 victory on Long Island last Thursday. Philadelphia (27-13-4) has won all eight meetings since the start of 2010-11.
New York’s last win in Philadelphia was 4-2 on April 7, 2007, and the Islanders (17-21-6) have been outscored 54-24 during their 13-game skid there.
“I don’t know what it is, we just have their number,” said left wing Scott Hartnell, who has three goals and an assist in his last three matchups with New York. “It’s hard to explain that kind of dominance.”
Ilya Bryzgalov has started the last two games for Philadelphia, but Sergei Bobrovsky will most likely be in net Thursday since he’s 7-0-0 with a 1.86 goals-against average in eight appearances versus the Islanders.
He’s beaten them twice this season, coming on in relief of Bryzgalov and stopping all 23 shots he faced in a 4-3 overtime win Nov. 23 and making 33 saves last week.
Philadelphia began a stretch of playing 11 of 15 games at home with a 5-1 win over Minnesota on Tuesday. The Flyers are 5-2-0 since falling 3-2 to the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers in the Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park on Jan. 2.
The Flyers, tied for the NHL lead with 16 road wins, have won nine of 13 on their own ice after dropping four of their first six in Philadelphia.
“It’s always nice to see the schedule and know that you’ll be able to sleep in your home bed more than a couple days at a time,” said Hartnell, who scored for the second time in three games Tuesday.
“These games are huge and we love playing at the Wells Fargo Center. We have to get our confidence up here at home, play hard and play Flyers hockey.”
The last-place Islanders have been a victim of Flyers hockey over the past few seasons, but they enter this matchup with some confidence after ending a lengthy road drought against another opponent Tuesday.
New York hadn’t won in regulation in seven visits to Washington before posting a 3-0 victory behind the first two-goal game of P.A. Parenteau’s career.
“We know we’re playing for our season right now, being 10 points back of a playoff spot,” Parenteau said. “This is a big stretch for us and I think all the boys in this locker room are aware of that. That’s why we came out swinging tonight and were ready to go. We know if we want to stay in the hunt we have to put some wins together.”
John Tavares also scored for New York, giving him six goals and 11 assists during a career-best 10-game point streak. Tavares, who leads the Islanders with 44 points, has five goals and five assists in 14 games against Philadelphia.