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Isles make some history; Are the Flyers headed for trouble?

Travis Hamonic, Jaroslav Halak

New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic (3) congratulates goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) after the Islanders defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 in an NHL hockey game at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)


It’s pretty tough to deny the notion that the New York Islanders are the hottest team in the NHL.

If you look at the score alone, their Monday performance wasn’t that impressive; they only managed to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0 via a shootout.

Steve Mason deserves credit for grabbing Philly a point, however, as the Islanders poured shots on the beleaguered goalie. The Islanders generated a 46-21 shot advantage tonight, including a 31-14 edge through the second and third period. Mason stopped every shot he saw in regulation and overtime, but Frans Nielsen and John Tavares beat him in the shootout, dropping the Flyers to 0-3 in that department.

Islanders on fire

Beyond similar uniform designs, there haven’t been many valid comparisons between the modern Islanders and the dynastic ones, let alone instances in which the current version comes out on top. They set a mark that even the Bossy - Trottier - Smith hasn’t managed today, however:

Sure, the death of the tie matters here (six of the Islanders wins have come either in overtime or shootouts), but that’s still a fantastic mark.

One big reason is the rising play of Jaroslav Halak. After an up-and-down start to his first season on Long Island, the 29-year-old is currently on a seven-game winning streak. He’s shut out opponents three times in that span and has only allowed eight goals in seven games.

Trouble brewing for Philly?

At 8-9-3, the Flyers haven’t been fantastic, but they’ve avoided flopping like their loudest naysayers predicted. The next month-plus could be a really big test for this group, however.

They only have five home games from now until Jan. 3. It will be crucial to make the most of a four-game homestand in mid-December, as the Flyers otherwise approach the beginning of 2015 on the road. They have plenty of proving to prove with a 2-6-1 away record in 2014-15.

If you ask Mason, scoring a bit more would certainly help:

Time will tell if we’ll look back at tonight’s game as a match between two teams heading on very different paths.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins