With a win Sunday, the Flyers can climb to within five points of a playoff spot.
To do so, they'll need to beat the surprise leaders of the Metropolitan Division as the Flyers (31-26-8) visit the Islanders (37-20-7).
Let's take a look the essentials:
• When: 3 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 2:30 p.m.
• Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
• Do you recall the season predictions by USA TODAY Sports in September?
A handful of NHL teams pack the firepower to threaten the Stanley Cup-winning Capitals, who essentially have their championship roster intact. https://t.co/dqWmXYl28B pic.twitter.com/w0KCPaXUZN— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) September 26, 2018
Things have not gone as predicted for either of these two clubs.
Barry Trotz is the favorite for the Jack Adams Award (top NHL coach) in his first year with the Islanders, who are also in their first year without star John Tavares.
No big deal, right?
New York doesn't blow you away in any specific area but it allows the NHL's fewest goals per game at 2.31. From Dec. 15 to Jan. 20, the Islanders went 14-3-0 for a league-best 28 points and allowed just 31 goals - 1.82 per game.
• While New York has come back to earth a bit, going 4-4-1 over its last nine games, the Flyers remain one the NHL's hottest teams since Jan. 14. They are 15-3-2 over that stretch and tied with the Lightning and Blues for the league's most points at 32.
However, six of the Flyers' final 17 games come against the first-place Islanders (three games) and the defending champion Capitals (three games).
The Flyers' only matchup against New York this season was a 6-1 loss at the Wells Fargo Center back on Oct. 27. The team was 4-7-0 at the time, prompting Ivan Provorov to say, "We have to figure out soon what the hell is going on."
• Before becoming the Flyers' interim head coach, Scott Gordon's only NHL head coaching experience came with the Islanders for parts of three seasons from 2008 to 2010. Those teams were not too good and went 64-94-23 under Gordon, who is 19-11-4 with the Flyers.
Via Flyers public relations, here's what Gordon had to say pregame Sunday about returning to New York:
I didn't give them a lot of great memories. The one thing that I'll never forget is the fact that, even with the lack of success we had, I never at any time felt the wrath of the fans. We were never booed, whatever our situation was with our team, I thought we always played hard and competed, and I think the fans appreciated that and I felt it. I never saw a sign in the crowd that said 'Fire Gordon,' you know how it goes with those situations. I always appreciated that.
• A quick glimpse of Nolan Patrick during the Flyers' 15-3-2 stretch since Jan. 14:
Nolan Patrick in his last 20 games: 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points, plus-4.
Nolan Patrick in the 24 games prior: 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, minus-9.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) March 3, 2019
Claude Giroux-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Scott Laughton-Ryan Hartman
Michael Raffl-Corban Knight-Phil Varone
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Robert Hagg-Radko Gudas
Shayne Gostisbehere-Philippe Myers
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