Point Blank live in-game commentary tonight begins at 7:15 pm
The Islanders are due to win. They are also due to win in Philadelphia. During this tumultuous, rollercoaster, almost-never-boring season, would it really be a surprise if they get the two points tonight?
The Orange and Blue have not beaten the Flyers on the road in the Garth Snow/Scott Gordon era. In fact, they have not won anywhere on the road within their division these last two years other than Madison Square Garden.
Beyond Gordon’s time, all together the Islanders have lost nine in a row in the city of Brotherly Chippiness. The last time they won in Philadelphia was when Ted Nolan was the coach, Wade Dubielewicz was the goaltender, Ryan Smyth was the de facto leader and the good guys won four in a row in that final week to make the playoffs.
The Islanders’ current 14-game losing streak against the Flyers is the longest active head-to-head slump in the NHL.
The Islanders’ last victory anywhere on the road was exactly two months ago today in Phoenix. Thanks to the Olympic break, that is only a slump of seven games.
They enter the game nine points back of Boston for the final playoff berth in the East. Five juggernauts – the Rangers, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Florida and Carolina – stand between them. This has become dire enough that some team broadcast insiders have begun tweeting more about what losses mean in the hunt for Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall and Cam Fowler. Of course, we are above that and will wait to see how the Islanders perform up to Game 70.
(Columbus, 6-0 losers, did not show up in LA last night).
The Islanders have a few wins at home on the horizon. The boys are due.
Notes: Tonight’s game is at 7:30 and will be on VERSUS with Doc Emrick and Billy Jaffe on the call. On Islanders radio station WMJC (94.3 FM), Chris King – since there is no MSG show to simulcast – will do the play-by-play, color commentary, sideline reporting and mix drinks. If you get the station, you know Kinger will make tonight an entertaining three-hour information session about your favorite hockey club.
The choice of Trevor Gillies as a recall tonight is interesting because Peter Laviolette has not been playing heavyweights in his lineup. Gillies might be able to stare down Daniel Carcillo, but the Flyers’ middleweight agitator will most likely not fight him. Chris Pronger is not going to take himself off the ice for five minutes to fight anyone. Perhaps Gillies will keep the peace and will play more than the three minutes Gordon gave him in his debut.
More to come.