Slow starts concern Flyers
The Flyers (25-19-5) look to sweep their season series with the Islanders (19-24-7) as the divisional rivals play their fourth and final game of the year.
Puck drop is set for 1 p.m. at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (CSN).
Here are five things you need to know:
1. Stand by Read
Matt Read loves playing the New York Islanders. Read scored an empty-netter to seal Saturday's 6-4 win. It was his 11th goal of the year and his fourth against the Isles.
His goal also snapped a personal eight-game drought dating back to Dec. 17 vs. the Capitals. He missed six games with a concussion.
The 27-year-old is a point-per-game player in his career vs. the Islanders. In 13 games, he has eight goals and five assists. His eight goals and 30 shots are his most against any opponent. He also has a career-best five assists against the Isles and Hurricanes.
Good news: The Flyers play the Islanders today and the Hurricanes tomorrow. Expect big games from Read.
2. 60 Minutes
The Flyers have been extremely lucky recently and at some point the luck is going to run out. Saturday's win tied a franchise record for the most come-from-behind wins in the third period -- nine.
But to say the Orange and Black played a strong game would be a farce. They played 25 good minutes and stole two points.
"We can't keep shooting ourselves in the foot like that," captain Claude Giroux said after the game (see story). "We need to do a better job of playing a full 60 minutes."
Steve Mason gave up four goals, but it's hard to blame any of them on the netminder, who signed a three-year extension with the Flyers earlier in the day. Team defense has been an issue of late. While the defensemen have blown assignments, the forwards have to backcheck harder.
3. Brain of J
John Tavares has been so good it's almost a crime not to acknowledge it.
Tavares added another goal Saturday night and would have had a second if not for goaltender interference on incidental contact called to wave it off -- which, by the way, doesn't make sense because no penalty was called. In situations like that, it's either goalie interference, no goal and a penalty assessed, or it's incidental contact, no penalty and the goal is allowed.
But the Islanders' captain did get his ninth goal and 20th point in his last 12 games Saturday night. He has five goals and two assists in his last six games against the Orange and Black and has three points in three games this year.
As always, the Flyers have to contain Tavares and his linemates, Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo. The trio is on fire. Each had a point Saturday night.
It all goes back to playing 60 minutes and working harder defensively. They'll need to against the Islanders to secure two more points.
4. Busy week ahead ...
... for both teams. Each has four games in six days and three in four.
The Flyers are in New York today then come home to host Carolina Tuesday before heading to Columbus to face Sergei Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets on Thursday.
They close out the stretch with a 1 p.m. matinee at Wells Fargo Center in their first matchup this season vs. the Bruins.
For the Islanders, they head to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday and then Pittsburgh on Thursday. On Saturday, they're at home against the Blues.
Out of the combined eight games, six of them are division games. It's a big week for the mediocre Metropolitan.
5. This and that
• Andrej Meszaros has nine points in his last six games. He had two goals Saturday in the first period. Last time he had a two-goal game? April 9, 2011. Against the Islanders.
• The Flyers enter Monday's game 15 points behind the first-place Penguins. Don't count on them catching the Pens in the Metro.
• The Islanders' 61 goals in the second period are third-most in the league, behind Anaheim and Chicago, the top two teams.
• The Flyers have 134 goals this season. They've given up 140. That's a minus-6 goal differential. Not good.
• Braydon Coburn still leads the NHL with four minutes of shorthanded ice time per game. Kimmo Timonen has 3:30, eighth most.