The New York Islanders will try to wrap up a spot in the final and the Philadelphia Flyers will attempt to build an almost insurmountable 3-1 lead when the Stanley Cup semifinals resume tonight.
The Islanders have a 3-0 lead over the Buffalo Sabres and are on home ice.
The Flyers, after dropping the first game at home, have rallied to beat the upstart North Stars in Philadelphia and Minnesota for a 2-1 lead. The fourth is in Minnesota and the series returns to Philadephia for the fifth game Thursday night.
The Islanders now have won 11 straight playoff games against the Sabres, dating back to a 1976 quarterfinal when they came from 2-0 down to win, 4-2. If the Islanders win they will advance to the final for the first time in their eigh-year history. They have lost four of the last five years in the semifinals.
Billy Smith, an original Islander, has been a key figure throughout the playoffs in the nets, starting all 12 games. Bryan Trottier leads all playoff scorers with eight goals and 10 assists.
The Flyers, almost completely dependent on the line of Ken Linseman, Brian Propp and Paul Holmgren in the first two games of the Minnesota series, got a big lift Sunday when veteran Bill Barber scored four goals in their 5-3 win over the North Stars.