Flyers hope to extend winning streak vs. Islanders

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By Anthony Giornalista

Stats Senior Writer

Philadelphia (43-26-11) at NY Islanders (26-45-9), 2:00 p.m. EDT

UNIONDALE, New York (AP) -- With two games left in the regular

season, the Philadelphia Flyers can't afford to remain in a

scoring slump. Plenty of offenses have had their confidence

boosted after matchups with the New York Islanders.

In a tight race for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, the

Flyers look to extend a nine-game winning streak against the

Islanders and take advantage of one of the league's worst

defenses Saturday afternoon.

Philadelphia (43-26-11) was eliminated from contention for first

place in the Atlantic Division and fell into a three-way tie for

fourth in the East with a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on

Thursday night.

The Flyers, Carolina and Pittsburgh all have 97 points in the

race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

With a game in hand - Sunday against the Rangers - Philadelphia

has an advantage but has to find a way to end its scoring

troubles.

Philadelphia has scored three goals in its last two games after

netting 11 in its previous two. A matchup with the league-worst

Islanders (26-45-9) seems to give the Flyers an outstanding

opportunity to get back on track.

With five wins in this season's series, Philadelphia has won

nine in a row versus New York since a 4-3 road loss Feb. 12,

2008. The Flyers have never scored fewer than three goals during

their run against an Islanders team that has been terrible on

defense, particularly in recent weeks.

The Islanders lost 6-1 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night, two days

after falling 9-0 to Carolina in the most lopsided defeat in

franchise history. New York allowed 94 shots in those contests,

the latest ensuring it of finishing with the league's worst

record.

The Islanders have lost eight of their last 10 games (2-7-1),

allowing five goals or more seven times. They're ranked 28th in

the league in defense, giving up 3.31 goals per game with top

goaltender Rick DiPietro missing most of the season with a knee

injury.

This is the first time in eight seasons that New York will

finish with the NHL's worst record, and its defense isn't solely

to blame. The Islanders have been held to one goal or none in

three of their last four games.

"Right now, in our lineup, we don't have a lot of firepower,"

said coach Scott Gordon, whose team is averaging 2.42 goals.

"It's not going to come as a surprise that the puck is not going

to go in as easy as it would for some teams."

Philadelphia could use a boost from its top players.

Center Jeff Carter, who leads the Flyers with 82 points (45

goals, 37 assists), has been held off the scoresheet in four of

his last six games. Mike Richards had an assist against the

Rangers, but the center has only one goal in his last five games

and two in his last 10.

Carter has three goals and two assists, while Richards has a

goal and three assists against the Islanders this season.

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