clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lessons learned from the Canadiens series the Flyers can be applied to their series vs. New York

They should be ready for what the Islanders are going to bring.

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Before we prepare ourselves for Game 1 of Flyers vs. Islanders tonight, let’s take one last look into the past. The series vs. Montreal was far too close for comfort than we all would have liked, but at the end of the day the Flyers did their job and won the series. While it was quite the tight set of games, and the Flyers didn’t look their best at times, it can be argued that it might have prepared them for exactly what they’ll deal with tonight.

It’s no secret that the Flyers struggled against the Islanders this season. They lost all three games and blew a 3-0 lead in one of them. But, Montreal offered a similar brand of hockey to what the Flyers can expect from their divisional foes. The difference of course being between the two teams, is there’s no Carey Price in net for the Islanders.

That’s no disrespect to Semyon Varlamov, who was excellent in the Isles’ first round series vs. Washington, but Price on top of his game is the best goalie on the planet. If the Flyers can get off to a hot start offensively in this series, especially if they keep the power play rolling, maybe you kill the confidence of Varlamov.

And should they do that, I believe the Flyers are in prime position to win this series. We know how great a defensive team the Islanders are, as they allowed the sixth fewest goals during the regular season. This is going to be another grinding series but given how the Flyers just experienced that, I think they’re in a much better position than if they had not faced a team like Montreal.

They know what to expect in regards to a heavy forecheck and a big bodied defense, if somehow this takes the Flyers by surprise, I’d be shocked.

Another aspect of Montreal’s game that should prepare the Flyers to a certain extent, is the pain in the ass that Nick Suzuki was. Although a far better player with far more experience, Mat Barzal is a similar kind of player to Suzuki in the fact he can flat out fly, and has the hands to keep up with his feet.

He posted 60 points in 68 games with the Islanders this season and had 12 points in his last 10 games before the season was suspended. In his series vs. the Florida Panthers in the play-in round, he registered three points in four games, and vs. Washington four in five. Needless to say, he’s been quite effective for the Isles of late. The good news for the Flyers is that he’s really their only “game-breaking” offensive threat.

That’s not to say the likes of Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Josh Bailey, or Jordan Eberle aren’t threats, because they are, but Barzal is a dynamic player who can take over games. If the Flyers commit to slowing him down and playing as tight defensively as they did for a good portion of the Montreal series, one would assume they would be in good shape.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Broad Street Hockey Weekly Roundup newsletter!

A weekly roundup of Philadelphia Flyers news from Broad Street Hockey