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Flyers vs Islanders - 1-12-2012

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CSN Philly (Baicker)

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- After impressing coach Peter Laviolette with his performance in Carolina Tuesday night, Sergei Bobrovsky will again start in net for the Flyers Thursday night against the New York Islanders (see game notes).

“I think his numbers speak for themselves,” Laviolette said. “He’s been terrific. His numbers are excellent. He’s done well against the Islanders, and he played well in Carolina.”

Bobrovsky has a 9-3-1 record, .919 save percentage and 2.45 goals-against average.

Gus is up, but …

Laviolette generally won’t discuss lineup decisions before game time, so it’s impossible to say when defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who was recalled by the Flyers on Wednesday, will re-join the lineup.

However, whenever he does return, his coach expects big things from him.

“I thought he was excellent with his play,” Laviolette said. “Really a big improvement from the previous year, just his jump, how strong he is. His head’s always up, he makes good decisions and good plays. … When he gets his opportunity I’m sure he’ll be anxious to get going.”

Whenever Gustafsson does get his chance to crack the lineup, he’ll likely replace Andreas Lilja, as opposed to rookie Marc-Andre Bourdon, who has found success replacing Chris Pronger as Matt Carle’s defensive partner.

Harry Z vs. Rinaldo

When the Flyers are mostly healthy, there’s generally always a player who has to sit. Recently, it’s come down to a decision between Harry Zolnierczyk and Zac Rinaldo – and Laviolette is somewhat pleased about that.

“I think they’re a little bit different in their makeup as a player,” Laviolette said. “And I hope we remain healthy, it puts pressure on everybody to perform well. But I’d really like to keep them both in the loop, and keep them both active – not let one guy go too long, because they both bring a certain element to the game, they both bring a lot of positive energy.

“I actually enjoy having both of them in there. But based on numbers and health right now, which is a good thing, we have to make decisions on a daily basis.”

Again, though Laviolette won’t discuss lineup decisions, Rinaldo was one of the last two players out on the ice, along with Jody Shelley – usually a sign a player will be scratched.


Trying to emerge from a recent pattern of game-to-game and period-to-period inconsistency, the Flyers (24-12-4) reach the statistical midpoint of the season tonight when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes (14-22-7) in Raleigh. The game starts at 7 PM EST and will be broadcast locally on the Comcast Network Philadelphia (not CSN Philly).

This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season (the lone 2011-12 Eastern Conference season series the Flyers will finish in the first half). The Flyers won the first two games by 5-1 and 5-3 scores but Carolina won the most recent game, 4-2.

Philadelphia enters this game trying to correct a pair of concerning defensive problems that have plagued the club during its stretch of six of losses in its last 10 games (4-5-1): they haven't been starting well or finishing well when it comes to shutting down the opposition.

Philly has yielded the first goal in 9 of the 10 games (going 4-4-1) in those games, and has also blown two-goal leads three times in the last four games (1-2-0).

The Flyers were guilty of trying to cut corners and make fancy plays in Sunday's game in Ottawa, and ultimately paid the price. The least of the team's concerns right now is the fact that Claude Giroux has had back-to-back subpar games, but his line with Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr (who labored through his Sunday return from a groin pull) was not very good against the Senators.

Goaltending was not Philly's main problem in the last game. However, the rate of stoppable goals that have been going in over the last 10 games -- at least one per game -- needs to be cut drastically. Both Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky have been guilty of untimely soft goals in recent games.

The Hurricanes were playing some of their best hockey of the season when the two team's last played. Since then, the club has gone back to struggling and changed coaches. The team is 4-4-2 over its last 10 games, and Kirk Muller's squad followed up an outstanding, and very physical performance in a 4-2 win over Buffalo on Friday with an uninspired effort the next night in a 5-2 loss to Nashville.

On the injury front, the Flyers have begun to feel the impact of the absence of Chris Pronger (LTIR, concussion). Kimmo Timonen (left wrist) and Jagr (groin) will remain in the lineup but Jagr in particular showed the effects of his injury in his last game. Philly isn't going to get any sympathy from Carolina, which is playing without two of its key players in second-year forward Jeff Skinner (concussion) and top-pairing defenseman Joni Pitkanen (concussion).

PROJECTED LINEUP (Subject to change)


Hartnell - Giroux - Jagr

Talbot - Briere - Voracek

JVR - Schenn - Simmonds

Read - Couturier - Rinaldo

Timonen - Coburn

Carle - Bourdon

Lilja - Meszaros



Jokinen - Staal - Ruutu

Ponikarovsky - Brandon Sutter - LaRose

Nodl - Brett Sutter - Stewart

Tlusty - Brent - Dwyer

Gleason - McBain

Faulk - Spacek

Allen - Harrison



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They mighta slapped the Wings around, but Hell even a broken clock is right twice a day. This Isles team is not good. Franchise hasn't been relevant for 15 years, still fighting off the stench of the Milbury years.

Visitors win big tonight.....this one will be over early

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