Isles Flyers Pregame Thoughts

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With Andy Sutton in the lineup tonight, the Islanders defense should be in better shape to handle a talented Flyers team tonight that despite being without Daniel “Don’t call me Danny” Briere for the next few weeks, still has a plethora of options on offense.

Scary stuff if you ask me.

For that reason alone, this is a game where the Islanders cannot make avoidable mistakes in. Otherwise, this game will be over before the end of the first period. Costly penalties and turnovers did them in on Monday against the Rangers, a team that is playing good hockey right now. The Flyers on the other hand are more like a sleeping giant. They have most of the pieces on their team in place, but haven’t gotten great goaltending this season and their defense hasn’t been that strong either. With that being said, the Flyers will jump all over the Isles if they have an opportunity.

The Isles can counteract this however if they get another solid game out of guys like Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo. As I’ve said before on the blog, the line of Doug Weight, Bill Guerin and Sean Bergenheim are playing solid hockey right now, they just have to start finishing. Once that happens and guys such as Jon Sim and Jeff Tambellini start to become factors, this team can hold it’s own. However, until then, this season is going to be a disaster.

Aside from Mark Streit, the Islanders haven’t had a consistent presence on the score sheet this season. We know that this team doesn’t have any legitimate offensive juggernauts, but is it asking so much to have a few guys that can score 45-60 points? As of right now, it looks like Streit and perhaps Weight are going to be the only players close to that. After that, the Islanders offense looks extremely grim.

Because of that and without Rick DiPietro and a bunch of other important players that I’ve mentioned a thousand times not in the lineup, the Islanders defense has to be pretty damn close to perfect for them to break out of this funk they’ve started their season in. If they work hard however, get a quick goal and perhaps a few powerplay opportunities, things could end up differently. So far this season both Marty Biron and Antero Niittymaki have been far from perfect as well, which leads me to believe this game could get hairy really fast if both teams get sloppy.