The NHL is set up with a great finale to the second round on Saturday night. The New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers will meet in the last of three Game 7’s over the last couple days. These two teams have met in an exciting series so far to get to a Game 7. Both teams will look to be the final team in the Conference Finals on September 5. This game will drop the puck at around 7:30 PM Eastern time.
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 and the Washington Capitals through the Qualifying and First round. New York lost only one game in each series to move on to the second round. Now the Islanders will look to eliminate the Flyers.
The Flyers posted a record of 41-21-7 throughout the regular season. Philadelphia went undefeated throughout the round robin to secure the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers met up with Montreal Canadiens in the first round and knocked them out in six games. Now Philadelphia will look to complete this comeback with a win on Saturday night.
These two teams have put up one of the best series in the playoffs and I expect another good one on Saturday night to close out this round. Both teams will look to earn spot against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Conference Finals with a big win in Game 7. Look for both teams to come out quick to comfortably play their game.
Game 1 and 2 of this series was a nice split between the two teams. Andy Greene scored the game winner in Game 1 as Semyon Varlamov earned a 29 shot shutout to give the Islanders a 4-0 win. Game 2 of the series was all Flyers early as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead. New York came back though to force overtime. Philippe Myers scored the game winner in overtime to give Philadelphia a 4-3 win.
Game’s 3 and 4 were dominated by the Islanders though to jump out to a 3-1 series lead. Jordan Eberle had two assists for the Islanders as New York came back with a 3-1 win to take back the series lead. Brock Nelson had two goals, while Josh Bailey had two assists. The Islanders took a stranglehold on the series with a 3-2 win to push Philadelphia to the brink of elimination.
Game 5 of this series was back on September 1. Josh Bailey had another strong two assist game, which was not enough to give the Islanders the win. Claude Giroux and Scott Laughton both had a goal and an assist as Philadelphia won. Laughton scored the game winner in overtime to give the Flyers a 4-3 win to make the series 3-2.
The sixth game of this series was on September 3. Mathew Barzal and Derick Brassard both had a goal and an assist for the Islanders, which was not enough. Kevin Hayes and Ivan Provorov also had a goal and an assist as these two teams needed another overtime to decide the winner. Provorov scored in double overtime to tie up the series with a 5-4 win for the Flyers.
The Islanders struggled a bit on special teams throughout the regular season. New York finished out the season with a 17.3 percent power play success rate and a kill rate of 80.7 percent. The Islanders have been solid throughout the postseason. New York has capitalized on 18.2 percent of their power play chances, while killing off 81.4 percent of the penalties against them.
Philadelphia put up a solid special team unit throughout the regular season. The Flyers scored on 20.8 percent of their power play opportunities this season. Philadelphia also killed off 81.8 percent of the penalties against them. The Flyers have not found that success in the playoffs, putting up an 8 percent power play rate and a 79.2 percent kill rate.
New York has a clear edge on special teams throughout this season. The Islanders have put up a better power play and penalty kill in this playoff run, while the Flyers have not found any success on the power play. If the Islanders can use their special teams to their advantage in Game 7, it could give them a huge edge to finish off Philadelphia.
I expect Thomas Greiss to get the start in the crease for New York on Saturday night. Greiss finished out the regular season with a record of 16-9-4. He put up a save percentage of .913 and a 2.74 GAA throughout those games. Greiss has only appeared in two playoff games, stopping 56 of 59 shots he has faced. I believe though with a pivotal Game 7 on the line, the Islanders switch it up with Greiss in net.
Carter Hart will get the nod in net for the Flyers in Game 7. Hart put up a record of 24-13-3 throughout the regular season. In those games, he posted a .914 save percentage and a 2.42 GAA. In the postseason, Hart has earned a save percentage of .929 and GAA of 2.17. He will need to put up another strong performance on Saturday night.
These two goalies have done well for their respective teams. Greiss made an appearance in this series in Game 2 after Varlamov allowed three goals in the first period. Greiss then shut out the Flyers until overtime. If Greiss can put up a strong complete game, I think it will knock Philadelphia out of the playoffs.
The Islanders have been the better team throughout this series, with the Flyers winning all three of their games in overtime. Philadelphia will need to put up a more complete game in Game 7 if they want to knock off New York. I believe that the Islanders will break through on Carter Hart to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
BetOnline has New York listed as a -128 against the money line in this game. This implies that the Islanders will win this game around 56.1 percent of the time. I believe that this line is right, but does not have the most value. The Islanders are also -1 ½ at +205 for this game. I think that New York will have a lead late, which will give them a great chance to score the empty netter to cover if needed.