The NHL is set up with another busy day of action on Tuesday. Six games will be up on the board throughout the day. To open up the action, the Florida Panthers and the New York Islanders will meet up in their second game of the series. These two teams had a good matchup in Game 1, and I expect the same in Game 2. The puck will drop at 12:00 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
The Panthers finished out the regular season with a record of 35-26-8, which earned them the tenth seed in the Eastern Conference. Florida had struggled before the season halted, but have new life in the restart. The Panthers had a tough Game 1, but I believe that Florida will look at some bright spots moving forward to try and bounce back.
New York earned a record of 35-23-10 in the regular season, which has them in the seventh seed of the East. The Islanders had lost seven games in a row before the season paused. Like the Panthers, with the restart, New York has new life. Both teams were struggling down the stretch, but are rejuvenated and ready to continue this battle of a series.
Game 1 was a tight matchup, and with how these teams compare, I expect that to continue going forward. Both teams had strong points in the first matchup to take into Game 2. These two teams also met up three times in the regular season, which should give them a good feel for each other in this one. This should be a good game to kick off Tuesday’s action.
The first meeting of the season series between these teams was on October 12 in New York. Evgenii Dadonov had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, but it was not enough. Josh Bailey and Anders Lee scored in the second to help force overtime. Brock Nelson then scored in the shootout for the win. Semyon Varlamov stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced in the 3-2 win.
The second game of the season was hosted by the Islanders on November 9. Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist to help New York earn the win. Scott Mayfield scored the game winner in the third period for the Islanders. Thomas Greiss turned away 37 of the 38 shots against him in route to a 2-1 win at home.
The third game shifted to Florida on December 12. Devon Toews and Mathew Barzal kicked off the scoring with power play goals in the second. Jordan Eberle had two assists, while Anders Lee had a goal and an assist. Thomas Greiss helped the Islanders to another win by stopping 32 of 33 shots. New York ended with a 3-1 win to sweep the season series.
The first game of this Qualifying Round matchup was on August 1. Jean-Gabriel Pageau opened up the scoring for the Islanders in the first. Anthony Beauvillier made it 2-0 with a power play goal in the second. Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the third to cut the lead in half, but it was too late as New York won 2-1 to take the series lead.
The Panthers’ power play was solid throughout this season. Florida capitalized on 45 of their 211 power play chances, which is a 21.3 percent power play. The Panthers penalty kill was not quite as good though. Florida allowed their opponents to score 40 goals on 186 opportunities, which is a 78.5 percent kill rate.
New York’s power play struggled this season. The Islanders were only able to score 29 power play goals on 168 attempts, which is a 17.3 percent success rate. New York had a better penalty kill, holding opposing teams to 34 goals on 176 chances. This was good for an 80.7 percent penalty kill on the season.
Neither team had a lot of penalties against hem this season, but the big difference is that Florida is better at drawing penalties. The Islanders only had 168 power play chances this season, which was really low. New York was able to go 1-3 on the power play though in Game 1, while the Panthers went 0-1 on the man advantage.
Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in crease again on Tuesday morning. Bobrovsky earned a record of 23-19-6 throughout the regular season. He had a season to forget, posting a .900 save percentage and a GAA of 3.23. Bobrovsky stepped up his game in the first matchup of this series though. He stopped 26 of the 28 shots against him to help give Florida a chance.
Semyon Varlamov will start again in net for this matchup. Varlamov had a strong season, posting a save percentage of .914 and a 2.62 He earned a record of 19-14-6 with those numbers though. Varlamov had a great performance in Game 1. He stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced to help give New York the 1-0 series lead.
Varlamov had a better season number wise, but Bobrovsky still gives the Panthers the edge in net in my opinion. Bobrovsky is still an elite goaltender, but just had a rough season in his first year in Florida. He had a great game on Sunday and will look for his team to score a few more in this one to give him some help. If Bobrovsky gets hot, it could lead for a dangerous series for the Islanders.
New York earned a big win in Game 1 of this series, but I believe that the Panthers will bounce back in Game 2. Florida has yet to beat the Islanders in the regular season or in postseason, but that is bound to change. The Panthers have a really solid team and I expect some players to step up in Game 2. If Florida can score first, I believe they have a great chance to tie up the series.
BetOnline has the Islanders listed as a -118 against the money line. This implies that New York will win this game around 54.1 percent of the time. These two teams match up really well together, which makes me think this game should be even. It is close to even, but as underdogs, this gives the Panthers some value. I like how Florida looked in Game 1, if they can get some more offense going, I think they will earn a win in Game 2.