A victory over another struggling Atlantic Division rival may have been just what the Philadelphia Flyers needed to gain some confidence. A visit from the stumbling Ottawa Senators on Thursday night could also help.
The Flyers (14-13-1) lost their first two games under new coach Peter Laviolette after John Stevens was fired Friday -- defeats that dropped them to 2-8-0 since a 12-5-1 start. Philadelphia was outscored 11-3 in those contests.
The Flyers got Laviolette his first win as their coach Tuesday night, ending a five-game slide with a 6-2 victory over the New York Islanders.
"It certainly was good to get some opportunities (Tuesday) and have some guys score some goals where they haven't been," Laviolette said. "There haven't been a lot of them lately. I thought that a lot of our game had that in it (Monday), but we just didn't bring the rubber to the net. (Tuesday) we did a much better job of that. I thought that our key players were pretty sharp."
Centers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter are among those players, and they will be looking to build on strong offensive performances. Each scored twice against New York, as Carter stopped a six-game goal drought while Richards' ended at four.
Richards leads the Flyers with 13 goals and is tied with Carter with a team-high 25 points.
Philadelphia won the last meeting with Ottawa 5-1 on Nov. 12 to avoid a third straight loss in the series. Carter had two assists, while Richards was held without a point after getting three goals and two assists in the previous four matchups.
Philadelphia got a strong 22-save effort from Brian Boucher on Tuesday, and he is expected to get the bulk of the playing time after Ray Emery underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a torn muscle in his lower abdomen. Emery is expected to miss about six weeks.
"I try to prepare the same way every day," said Boucher, 1-4-0 with a tie and a 3.47 goals-against average in seven games against the Senators. "In your mind, you're ready at all times. For me, it's just a matter of getting to play. Hopefully, I can provide the solid goaltending that's needed for us to win games."
Ottawa (14-11-4) has dropped five of six, the lone win coming in a 4-3 shootout victory at Anaheim on Sunday. That snapped Ottawa's seven-game road losing streak and gave it a 4-7-1 mark as a visitor.
The Senators could not build on the win Tuesday, falling 4-1 to Montreal despite outshooting the Canadiens 46-27.
"We got a lot of pucks at the net but just didn't do a good enough job of getting pucks in the net," center Jason Spezza said.
Mike Fisher scored Ottawa's lone goal to match his total of 13 from last season. He had a goal in the last meeting with Philadelphia.