The Philadelphia Flyers will be looking for their third consecutive victory when they host the New York Islanders on Saturday.
The Flyers swept a pair of games on the road against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday and Thursday.
Philadelphia's 3-1 win on Thursday had to be especially satisfying with arguably its best defensive effort of the season and stellar goaltending by Carter Hart.
Hart struggled mightily in his previous start, a 6-1 setback against the Boston Bruins. Soon after that game ended, a visibly shaken Hart shattered his stick into hundreds of pieces on the goal before leaving the ice.
"When you face the puck early, it definitely helps you get into the game," said Hart, who made 33 saves against the Devils.
"The first two periods were probably our worst and he kept us in the game," captain Claude Giroux said of Hart. "In the third, I think we played better, but he saved our game in the first and second."
The short-handed Flyers continue to play without key players such as Sean Couturier, Morgan Frost and Phil Myers. However, Myers skated Thursday and head coach Alain Vigneault said that the defenseman continues to progress. It's possible that Myers could play against the Islanders.
Philadelphia received an unexpected lift from 34-year-old Nate Prosser, who helped a depleted roster.
Prosser scored a goal, only the 11th of his career and his first since 2018.
"I just needed to get the first two shifts out of the way, then I found my way," Prosser said.
The Flyers fell to the Islanders in seven games in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Islanders will be hoping to avoid a fourth consecutive loss when they visit the Flyers.
New York relinquished a 3-0 lead and lost 6-3 to the Washington Capitals on Thursday thanks in large part to a number of defensive breakdowns in the second period.
In that second, the Islanders gave up five goals, only the second time that had occurred under coach Barry Trotz.
"It's a tough one because we didn't play that poorly for 50 minutes of that game, but a two-, three-minute span we were below average," Trotz said. "I didn't think we were as bad as that, but it all happened all at once and you get into stunned mode. Our poise, our confidence has been rattled and we need to pull that together. We're not going to get outside help. It's the group has to pull together."
The Islanders' struggles are alarming, considering they're coming off a season where they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 27 years.
It's still early, but in this condensed 56-game season, there must be a sense of urgency.
"Everyone on the team has to find a way to dig a little deeper and find a way to win games," Matt Martin said. "We're kind of falling behind right now, but the good thing is that we're going to play the same teams over and over again. We have the utmost confidence in ourselves, that we're going to figure it out, start winning games and climb right back into it."
(Field Level Media)