The NHL’s second round is underway as the battle for the Stanley Cup is down to eight. Two games will be up on the board throughout August 24. One of these matchups on Monday will be between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
New York finished out the regular season with a record of 35-23-10, which had them in seventh place of the Eastern Conference. The Islanders met up with the Florida Panthers in the Qualifying round, knocking them out in four games. New York then faced the Washington Capitals in the first round, where they won in five games. The Islanders will look to keep their dominant run going with a win on Monday.
The Flyers posted a record of 41-21-7 throughout the regular season, which finished them in fourth place of the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia then was able to go undefeated in round robin play to jump up to the top spot in the East. The Flyers met up with the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, winning in a tough six game series.
These two teams have played well throughout the playoffs so far, and I expect a strong Game 1 of this series. New York has had some more time off after blowing through the Capitals in five games. The Islanders will look for that extra rest to give them an edge int his series as they try and earn a big Game 1 win on Monday night.
The first game of the season series was hosted by New York on October 27. Jakub Voracek scored a goal and an assist for the Flyers, but it was not enough. Anders Lee had a goal and an assist, while eleven other players earned a point for the Islanders. Semyon Varlamov stopped 28 of the 31 shots against him, which helped give New York a 5-3 win.
The second game between these teams in the regular season was on November 16 in Philadelphia. Sean Couturier, Oskar Lindblom and Ivan Provorov all had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, but it was not enough. Anthony Beauvillier scored twice, while Derick Brassard and Brock Nelson both had two assists. Jordan Eberle and Mathew Barzal both scored in a shootout as New York won 4-3.
The most recent game of the season series shifted back to New York on February 11. Claude Giroux and Scott Laughton both had two assists, but it still was not enough. Mat Barzal earned three assists for the Islanders. Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle and Leo Komarov all had a goal and an assist as New York won. Semyon Varlamov finished with 35 saves on 38 shots as the Islanders won 5-3.
New York dominated the Flyers throughout their matchups in the regular season. The Islanders won all three games, scoring over four goals in all three matchups. Philadelphia will look to break through a bit more in this series. I expect the Flyers to come out stronger in this series as they try and sneak past the Flyers in Game 1.
The Islanders did not have the best special team unit in the regular season. New York posted a power play rate of 17.3 percent, while killing off 80.7 percent of the penalties against them this season. The Islanders have not done any better in the playoffs though. New York has capitalized on 15.8 percent of their power play chances, while killing off 75 percent of their opponent’s opportunities.
Philadelphia had a solid special team unit throughout the regular season. The Flyers earned a power play percentage of 20.8 percent. Philadelphia also killed off 81.8 percent of the penalties against them. The Flyers have struggled to get any power play going with a 10.3 percent success rate. Philadelphia’s penalty kill has been much better killing off 80.7 percent of the power plays against them.
These two teams have struggled on special teams throughout the playoffs, but I believe that the Flyers have a slight edge in this one. Philadelphia’s penalty kill has been better, while both teams have struggling power plays. If either team can get the power play going in this series though, it would give them a major edge.
Semyon Varlamov will get the start in net for the Islanders in Game 1 of this series. Varlamov posted a record of 19-14-6 throughout the regular season. He put up a save percentage of .914 and a 2.62 GAA in those games. In the postseason, Varlamov has earned a .934 save percentage and a GAA of 1.67. He has been a big reason why New York made quick work of Florida and Washington and will look to stump the Flyers.
Carter Hart will get the nod in the crease for Philadelphia in this matchup. Hart finished out the regular season with a record of 24-13-3. He was putting up a .914 save percentage and 2.42 GAA before the season came to a pause. Hart stepped up even more in the playoffs, posting a save percentage of .943 and a GAA of 1.71 in eight starts.
These two goalies have been the main reason why their teams have made it this far in the playoffs. Varlamov has had much more help in front of the net, while Hart has faced more shots in less games. The Flyers will look to clean up their defense a bit as they play a stifling New York squad. Philadelphia will need to find a way to break through the Islanders defense, which is where the Panthers and Capitals struggled.
These two teams have very similar styles, playing a strong defensive game, while generating high opportunity shots. The goalies will be in for a duel in this series as well. I expect both teams to try and control the pace early in this game. Both teams are evenly matched on paper, but I expect a good duel between the two in this one.
BetOnline has Philadelphia listed as a -114 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Flyers will win this game around 53.3 percent of the time. New York has rolled through their first two series, going 7-2. New York has gotten strong offensive chances, while dominating on the defensive end. I think the Islanders will strangle Philadelphia’s offense to take a 1-0 series lead.