Can Flyers stop their slide?

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

The Flyers recalled Erik Gustafsson from the minors while the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Jarome Iginla.

Yeah, that sounds like a perfect way to describe the way this season has gone for the two bitter rivals.

The Flyers have lost seven of their last nine games, incluidng three in a row, and are 14th in the 15-team East. The Penguins have won 13 straight and are atop the conference.

Which team won again when the teams met in a first-round playoff matchup last year?

That's ancient history. The Penguins' general manager, Ray Shero, has had a much better year than his counterpart. Pittsburgh has reloaded, the Flyers have recoiled.

The Flyers, seven points out of eighth place, host the New York Islanders Thursday and probably need to win 12 of their final 16 games to sneak into the playoffs.

The last time the teams met, the Flyers scored a 7-0 win.

So I will leave you with that note of rare optimism.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.