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Flyers And Islanders Square Off In Grudge Match Tonight

(Sports Network) - When the Flyers and Islanders met last Saturday in Philadelphia the clubs combined for 120 penalty minutes. The Atlantic Division rivals expect to renew the bad blood tonight when they Flyers visit the struggling Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

The Flyers enter this game playing their best hockey of the year, having won a season-high five straight contests. Philadelphia's latest victory came Thursday night over the other New York team, the Rangers, as the Orange and Black disposed of the visiting Blueshirts, 4-1.

Philly dismantled the Islanders, 6-1, last weekend and the lopsided score led to a physical game, especially in the third period. Most notably, Flyers forward Danny Briere was given a major for cross-checking New York's Frans Nielsen in the head late in the game. The incident resulted in a three-game suspension for Briere, who will serve the final portion of that sanction tonight.

The Flyers have just one loss in their last 17 games versus the Isles overall and have also won eight out of 10 on Long Island. New York did snap a seven- game home losing streak against Philly on April 1 of last season.

Philadelphia notched the 4-1 win over the Blueshirts on Thursday thanks in part to goals by former Rangers Blair Betts and Nikolay Zherdev. Mike Richards and Chris Pronger also supplied power-play tallies for the Flyers, who have won six of their last seven and are first in the Atlantic with 17 points.

Sergei Bobrovsky turned away 20 shots to become the first rookie netminder for Philadelphia to win five straight starts since Antero Niittymaki did so from December 22-29, 2005.

"He's been a pleasant surprise obviously," Betts said about Bobrovsky, who was signed as a free agent after going undrafted. "For a young guy, especially as a goaltender coming into this league, he shows a tremendous amount of maturity and poise in between the pipes."

The Flyers are 2-1-1 on the road this year and are kicking off a three-game trek tonight. Philly will also visit Washington on Sunday before facing Carolina in Raleigh on Thursday.

The Islanders, meanwhile, are headed in the opposite direction of the streaking Flyers, having lost their last six games. Each of those setbacks has come in regulation, including Thursday's 4-1 defeat in Ottawa.

New York has been outscored by a whopping 20-5 margin over its last four games and fell behind 3-0 by 6:17 of the second period on Thursday. Jason Spezza tallied a goal and three assists to lead the Senators to the easy win.

Matt Moulson tallied the lone goal for the sinking Islanders, while Dwayne Roloson allowed three goals on 26 shots in the losing effort.

"It's tough to be positive now, but it was a better effort," said Isles forward John Tavares. "We have to turn the page and focus on bouncing back. We can't be down on ourselves for too long, We have to find a way to get ourselves out of this hole and move on and get back on track."

Even though Roloson and Rick DiPietro both have just two wins on the year, the former has played much better in net. Roloson has a 2.50 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in six starts, while DiPietro has a 4.21 GAA and .850 save percentage. It's unclear who will get the start tonight, although the fact that DiPietro allowed six goals against Philly last week could be a clue.

The Islanders are 2-1-1 as the host this year and will be glad to be home after playing six of their previous seven tests away from the Coliseum.