After sitting out for Thursday and Friday, the NHL will return with plenty of action on Saturday. Three games will be up on the board throughout August 29. One of these matchups will be between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Islanders. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
The Flyers finished out the regular season with a record of 41-21-7, which had them in fourth place of the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia went on a 3-0 run in the round robin to snag up the top spot in the East. The Flyers then met up with the Montreal Canadiens in the first round and knocked them off in six games. Philadelphia will look to take the lead on this series with a win on Saturday night.
New York finished out the regular season with a record of 35-23-10, which put them in seventh place of the Eastern Conference. The Islanders met up with the Florida Panthers in the Qualifying round and the Washington Capitals in the first round. New York won both series in dominant fashion to get here. Now the Islanders will look to take the series lead back with a win in this one.
These two teams are in a solid series so far, tied up at 1-1 through two games. The Flyers are coming off a tight win in Game 2, which New York will look to erase with a win in this one. Both teams have looked dominant throughout the playoffs and will look to keep it up in this series. I expect another good game as this series goes on.
Philadelphia and New York met up three times throughout the regular season. The first game was in New York, where the Islanders won 5-3. The second game shifted to Philadelphia, where New York took it 4-3 in a shootout. The final game was back in New York where the Islanders swept the season series with a 5-3 win at home.
The first game of this series was on August 24. Any Greene opened up the scoring for the Islanders. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anders Lee both scored for New York in the third period to give them a nice lead. Devon Toews iced the game with an empty netter, while Semyon Varlamov stopped all 29 shots he faced to give the Islanders a 4-0 win.
The second game of this series was back on August 26. Kevin Hayes scored twice in the first period, while Sean Couturier capped off a 3-0 first. Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier and Jean-Gabriel Pageau all scored as the Islanders came storming back. Philippe Myers scored early in overtime to tie up the series. Carter Hart stopped 31 of 34 shots as the Flyers won 4-3 in overtime.
New York dominated Game 1 of this series and almost came back to steal Game 2. The Flyers need to tighten up their game a bit if they want to take this series over the Islanders. Philadelphia chased Semyon Varlamov from the crease in Game 2, and I expect Varlamov to come back strong in this one as New York tries to bounce back with a win.
The Flyers had a strong special team unit throughout the regular season. Philadelphia capitalized on 20.8 percent of their power play chances, while killing off 81.8 percent of the penalties against them. In the playoffs, the Flyers have not done nearly as well. Philadelphia has scored on 9.5 percent of their power play opportunities in the postseason. The Flyers have killed off 80 percent of their opponent’s power play attempts.
New York was alright on special teams throughout this season. The Islanders were only able to tally goals on 17.3 percent of their power play chances, while killing off 80.7 percent of their opponent’s man advantages. In the playoffs, New York has earned a 16.7 percent success rate on the power play and a 77.1 percent kill rate.
These two teams have the worst and second worst power play units left in the playoffs, which is not a great sign for moving forward. If either team wants to make a run to the Stanley Cup, they need to clean up their special team play. I believe that the Flyers have the chance to do that with the better penalty kill in this matchup.
Carter Hart will get the nod in the net for Philadelphia in Game 3. Hart finished out the regular season with a record of 24-13-3. In those games played, he put up a save percentage of .914 and a 2.42 GAA. Hart has stepped up in the playoffs in a big way. He has posted a .935 save percentage and a GAA of 1.97 to help propel his team to the second round.
Semyon Varlamov will get the start in the crease for the Islanders on Saturday night. Varlamov earned a record of 19-14-6 throughout the regular season. He finished out the regular season with a .914 save percentage and a 2.62 GAA. Varlamov has put up a save percentage of .932 and a 1.76 GAA throughout the playoffs.
These goalies have done extremely well throughout the postseason. Varlamov is coming off a tough performance that saw him get pulled in the first period. He will look to bounce back with a strong performance in Game 3 of this series. Both defenses will look to tighten up their play to give their goalies some help.
This series feels like it is going to go the distance as both teams match up very well. If either team can get special teams going in this series though, it could be what makes the difference. I expect the Islanders to come out strong after almost having a huge comeback in Game 2. New York has frustrated their opponents all postseason long and I think they will do it again on Saturday night.
BetOnline has the Islanders listed as a -113 against the money line in this one. This implies that New York will win this game around 53.1 percent of the time. I believe that the Islanders should be favored after their first two performances. I expect Varlamov to come out strong after getting pulled in Game 2 and it could be too much for Philadelphia to beat.