The NHL is set up with two exciting games up on the board for Thursday night. One of the games will be between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Islanders. These two teams have met in an exciting series so far and I expect another good one on September 3. 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. Philadelphia finished out the round robin in the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia met up with the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs, knocking them off in six games. The Flyers will look force a Game 7 with a big win in this one.
New York earned a record of 35-23-10 throughout the regular season, which had them in seventh place of the Eastern Conference. The Islanders faced the Florida Panthers in the Qualifying round and the Washington Capitals in the first round. New York lost only one game in each series, moving on to the second round. The Islanders will look to secure a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals with a win in this one.
These two teams have met in an exciting series so far, going back and forth. The Islanders will have a second chance to close out this series in Game 6. The Flyers had a nice overtime win on Tuesday night to keep this series alive. New York has been able to close out each of their first two opponents in the second elimination game and will look to do it again.
The first game of this series was on August 24. Andy Greene opened up the scoring before Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anders Lee iced the game in the third period. Semyon Varlamov was able to shut down Philadelphia’s offense by stopping all 29 shots he faced. The Islanders won 4-0 to take a series lead.
Game 2 of the series was back on August 26. Kevin Hayes scored twice, while Sean Couturier scored another to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead. The Islanders pushed back though with goals from Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Philippe Myers finished off the Islanders in overtime though to give Philadelphia a 4-3 win to tie up the series.
These two teams met up for Game 3 of the series on August 29. Tyler Pitlick opened up the scoring, but the Flyers were shut down. Jordan Eberle finished with two assists as Leo Komarov scored the game winner in the second period. Semyon Varlamov stopped 26 of 27 shots as the Islanders won 3-1.
Game 4 of the series was on August 30. Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov scored, which was not enough. Brock Nelson scored two goals, while Josh Bailey finished with two assists. Thomas Greiss turned away 36 of 38 shots to help propel the Islanders to a 3-2 win to take a 3-1 series lead.
The fifth game of the series was back on September 1. Josh Bailey had another strong performance, posting two assists for the Islanders. Claude Giroux and Scott Laughton both scored a goal and an assist, while Travis Konecny finished with two assists. Carter Hart stopped 29 of 32 shots as the Flyers stayed alive in the series.
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. The Flyers has not found the same success in the playoffs. Philadelphia scored on 7.1 percent of their power play opportunities and have posted a 78.6 percent penalty kill rate.
New York has finished out the regular season with a struggling power play and solid penalty kill. The Islanders had a 17.3 percent success rate and an 80.7 percent penalty kill rate. New York has not done much better in the playoffs. The Islanders have scored on 18.4 percent of their power plays and killed off 79.5 percent of the penalties against them.
These two teams have struggled strongly on special teams throughout this playoff run. The Flyers power play has been mostly nonexistent, while the Islanders have not been great either. New York has the edge in this matchup though as they hold a slight edge on both the power play and the penalty kill. If the Islanders can get their power play going on Game 6, it could give them the win.
Carter Hart will get the nod in crease as the Flyers look to tie up this series. Hart finished out the regular season with a record of 24-13-3. He put up a save percentage of .914 and a 2.42 GAA in those games played. Hart has earned a .929 save percentage and a GAA of 2.12 throughout this playoff run, which has been a big reason for Philadelphia’s success.
Semyon Varlamov will get the start in the net for New York as the Islanders look to finish them off. Varlamov had a record of 19-14-6 throughout the regular season. He posted a .914 save percentage and a 2.62 GAA in those starts. Varlamov has stepped up in the playoffs, putting up a save percentage of .929 and a GAA of 1.85.
These two goalies have put up very similarly strong stats throughout this playoff run. Hart and Varlamov will both look to put up another strong performance on Thursday night to help out their team. The Islanders have helped out Varlamov with their defense, limiting the shots he faces. Philadelphia will need to help out Hart if they want to force a Game 7.
These two teams have put up a strong series so far, but I believe that the Islanders will close out Philadelphia on Thursday night. New York has been the better team on special teams and defense, which I think can propel them to a Game 6 win. The Islanders even came back with two goals in the third to tie up Game 5. If New York can tighten up their game, I think they will eliminate the Flyers.
BetOnline has the Islanders listed as a -115 against the money line. This implies that New York will win this game around 53.5 percent of the time. I believe that the Islanders deserve this line after jumping out to a 3-1 series lead. Philadelphia has put up a fight, but I think that New York’s defense will prove to be too much on Thursday night.