The NHL could be set up with another exciting elimination day on Tuesday night as two teams will look to stay alive in the second round. One of these games will be between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia will look to force a Game 6 with a win on September 1. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
New York finished out the regular season with a record of 35-23-10, which put them in seventh place coming into the postseason. The Islanders made quick work of the Florida Panthers and the Washington Capitals to make it to the second round. New York now has a prime chance to eliminate the Flyers to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Flyers put up a record of 41-21-7 throughout the regular season, which clinched them a spot in the round robin. Philadelphia went undefeated in the round robin play to earn the top spot in the East, which put them against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round. The Flyers moved on in six games, but now face elimination if they cannot dig their way out of this hole.
These two teams have earned their way to the second round with some dominant play, but now the Flyers need to switch things up. The Islanders defense has frustrated every team they have met in the postseason and now have pushed Philadelphia to the edge. The Flyers will need to find a way to break through if they want to stay alive in this series.
Game 1 of this series was back on August 24. Andy Greene got the scoring started in this series to give the Islanders the lead. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anders Lee both tallied a goal in the third period to blow Game 1 wide open. Semyon Varlamov stopped all 29 shots he faced to help give New York the series lead with a 4-0 win.
The second game of this series was a couple days later on August 26. Kevin Hayes scored two goals in the first period as the Flyers jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Anders Lee and Jean-Gabriel Pageau found the back of the net again though as the Islanders stormed back to force overtime. Philippe Myers scored less than three minutes into overtime as Philadelphia tied the series with a 4-3 win.
Game 3 of this series was on August 29. Tyler Pitlick opened up the scoring for the Flyers in the first period, but that was all Philadelphia could muster. Anders Lee scored on the power play in the third period, while Jordan Eberle earned two assists. Semyon Varlamov turned away 26 of 27 shots as the Islanders took the series lead back with a 3-1 win.
The most recent game of this series was Game 4 on August 30. Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov scored for the Flyers, but Philadelphia still came up short. Brock Nelson scored two goals, while Josh Bailey earned two assists. Jean-Gabriel Pageau added another goal of his own. Thomas Greiss stopped 36 of 38 shots to propel the Islanders to a 3-2 win and a 3-1 series lead.
New York struggled a bit on special teams during the regular season. The Islanders capitalized on 17.3 percent of their power play chances, while killing off 80.7 percent of the power plays against them. New York’s special team unit has also struggled in the postseason, putting up a 17.8 success rate on the power play and a 78.4 percent kill rate.
The Flyers finished out the regular season with a solid special team unit. Philadelphia were able to score on 20.8 percent of their power play chances, while earning an 81.8 percent penalty kill rate. The Flyers have not found that same success in the postseason. Philadelphia has capitalized on 9.1 percent of their power play opportunities and have stopped their opponents on 79 percent of their power play attempts.
These two teams have struggled to get special teams going throughout this postseason run, but it has been the Flyers who have been much worse. Philadelphia’s power play is succeeding less than 10 percent of the time, which is not a winning formula in the playoffs. The Flyers will need to solve some power play woes if they want to stay alive in Game 5.
Semyon Varlamov will likely get the start in net for the Islanders in this one. Varlamov put up a record of 19-14-6 throughout the regular season. He posted a save percentage of .914 and a GAA of 2.62 throughout those games. In the playoffs, Varlamov has earned an impressive .935 save percentage and a 1.69 GAA.
Carter Hart will get the nod in the crease for Philadelphia in Game 5 of this series. Hart finished out the regular season with a record of 24-13-3. He posted a .914 save percentage and a GAA of 2.42 to help lead the Flyers to the playoffs. Hart has stepped up his game in the postseason, earning a save percentage of .931 and a 2.08 GAA.
These two goalies have been a big reason why their respective team has made it to the second round. Varlamov has done better throughout this series and will look to close out the Flyers. Philadelphia needs to find a way to solve New York’s defense and goaltending or they will not be able to stay in. The Flyers will also look to lean on Hart to keep them in the game.
New York has been sneakily really good this postseason and now have a great chance to away the Flyers in Game 5. The Islanders are 2-2 with the chance to eliminate a team this postseason. I expect Philadelphia to come out hot in this one as they look to stay alive. This series has been tightly contested and I believe that the Flyers could force a Game 6 on Tuesday night.
BetOnline has New York listed as a -110 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Islanders will win this game around 52.4 percent of the time. This line is about right to me with New York holding a 3-1 series lead. I believe that the Flyers are going to make some serious adjustments though for Game 5. If Philadelphia can switch things up on the Islanders, I think they will force a Game 6.