The NHL is set up with another action packed Thursday night of hockey. Ten games are up on the board throughout April 8. One of these matchups will be between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Islanders. These two teams have had different starts, but I expect a good one on Thursday night. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
The Flyers have put up a record of 18-15-5 throughout this season, which has them sitting in a tie for the fifth spot in the East Division. Philadelphia is five points out of a playoff spot and needs to get back on track in this one. The Flyers are coming off a loss in their last game and have lost seven of their last ten. Philadelphia will look to get back on track in this one.
New York has earned a record of 25-10-4 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in a tie for the top spot in the East. The Islanders have won three games in a row entering this one and will look to keep it going. New York has found a lot of success throughout this season and will look to keep pace with the Capitals for the top spot in the East.
These two teams have put up different records to this point in the season, but I think this will be an exciting matchup to catch on Thursday night. Philadelphia is still alive in the playoff race, but need to get things going sooner rather than later. If the Flyers can come out hot in this one, it could be enough to earn a big win on April 8.
The Flyers and the Islanders have met up six times throughout this season so far. Philadelphia hosted the first and second game on January 30 and 31. Scott Laughton scored a goal and an assist in the first game as the Flyers won 3-2. Joel Farabee had a hat trick in the second game, while James van Riemsdyk added four assists in route to a 4-3 Philadelphia win.
New York hosted the third and fourth game on March 18 and 20. Oskar Lindblom had two goals and Travis Konecny had three assists in the third game to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 win. Casey Cizikas scored twice for the Islanders in the fourth game, while Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist. Ilya Sorokin stopped 23 of 24 shots as New York earned a 6-1 bounce back win at home.
The fifth game of the season series shifted back to Philadelphia on March 22. Oskar Lindblom opened up the scoring, but it was not enough. Jean-Gabriel Pageau had two assists on the night. Oliver Wahlstrom tied it up in regulation, while Anthony Beauvillier scored the game winner in overtime. Ilya Sorokin finished with 36 saves on 37 shots as the Islanders earned a 2-1 win.
The sixth game of the season series was back in New York on April 3. Claude Giroux scored two goals, while Jakub Voracek and Travis Konecny had two assists. It was not enough for the Flyers though. Anthony Beauvillier scored twice as well, while Mathew Barzal scored the game winner in the shootout. Ilya Sorokin stopped 30 of 32 shots as the Islanders earned a 3-2 win in the shootout.
Philadelphia has been solid on the power play throughout this season. The Flyers have capitalized on 24 of their 125 power play opportunities, which is a 19.2 percent success rate. Philadelphia has struggled on the penalty kill though. The Flyers have killed off 83 of the 114 penalties against them, which is a 72.8 percent penalty kill.
The Islanders have struggled a bit more on the power play so far this season. New York has scored on 20 of their 106 power play chances, which is an 18.9 percent power play. The Islanders have been solid on the penalty kill. New York has given up 19 goals on their opponents 98 power play attempts, which is an 80.6 percent kill rate.
These two teams have not been great on special teams throughout this season. New York has a slight edge with their penalty kill, but if neither power play can get going in this one, it will not really matter. Both teams need to find a way to capitalize with the man advantage a bit more consistently in this one. If either team can score a goal or two on the power play, it would likely be enough for the win.
I expect Carter Hart to get the start between the pipes for the Flyers in this one. Hart has started in 22 games this season, going 8-10-4 throughout those matchups. He has posted a .871 save percentage and a GAA of 3.88 in his starts. Hart’s last performance was against the Boston Bruins, where he stopped 22 of 25 shots in the loss.
Semyon Varlamov will likely get the nod in the crease for New York on Thursday night. Varlamov has earned a record of 16-7-3 throughout his 26 starts this season. He has put up a save percentage of .922 and a 2.17 GAA in those games played. Varlamov finished with a 29 shot shutout in his last start against the Washington Capitals.
These two goalies have been very different throughout this season. The Islanders have a big edge in net with Varlamov, especially if Hart cannot get going. Carter Hart has put up a save percentage of below .900 in eleven of his last twelve starts. The Flyers will look to give Hart some extra help in this one, but if he continues his struggles, it could be enough to give New York the win.
The Islanders are coming into this one as the much stronger team. Philadelphia has had some serious struggles as of late, which has dropped them out of the playoff race. Carter Hart has been a big issue for them, but I still believe he is much better than the numbers show. I think Hart could have a big bounce back game in this one to propel the Flyers to the win.
BetOnline has New York listed as a -160 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Islanders will win this game around 61.5 percent of the time. I think that Philadelphia has a good chance to pull off the upset though. The Flyers have lost three in a row to New York and I think that they will end that losing streak in this one.