For the first time since their 2019-20 season ended, the Flyers will faceoff with the New York Islanders. After pushing the series to seven games with back-to-back overtime wins, the Flyers were bounced with a lackluster game seven showing. This will undoubtedly be on the minds of the Flyers players.
The Islanders have begun the season relatively slowly, at just 3-4-0, and have lost three in a row after starting the season 3-1-0. The issue for them so far, much like was expected, is scoring goals. They have the fewest goals in the Eastern divis — ahem my bad, the *MassMutual East Division, at just 14. That’s tied for the third fewest in the entire NHL with the Anaheim Ducks.
Although the Flyers didn’t look overly impressive vs. the Devils, they swept the series and gained some much needed momentum heading into this series with the Islanders. Carter Hart got back on track with a fine showing on Thursday, so hopefully he continues this tonight.
The defensive effort is what’s keeping the Islanders from being worse, and stellar goaltending from Semyon Varlamov. He’s 3-2-0 to begin the season with a .936 save percentage. Varlamov dominated the Flyers at the beginning of last year’s playoff series, before struggling in game’s five and six which lead to Thomas Greiss starting game seven. If the Flyers get game’s five and six version of Varlamov, this could be a very good night for the orange and black.
Two big questions
1. Will the depth continue to produce?
Despite the stars not looking their best at times, the depth of this team has come through more often than not in the early going. The fourth line was a menace in the second Devils game, and if this continues along with the stars beginning to find their rhythm, this team only becomes more dangerous.
2. How chippy of a game will we see?
I can’t imagine the Flyers’ players are all too fond of this Islanders team, which to be fair is a given based off how they play. But even more so given the outcomes of last season’s playoffs. This could be quite the chippy game with tons of activity after the whistles, but time will tell.
(ok so apparently Travis Konecny is not playing tonight, scratched for Samuel Morin, this should go swimmingly)
Flyers projected lines
JVR — Hayes — Voracek
Giroux — Patrick — Farabee
Lindblom — Laughton — Morin (?)
Raffl — Bunnaman — NAK
Provorov — Gostisbehere
Sanheim — Myers
Gustafsson — Braun
The always-entertaining Dan Saraceni of Lighthouse Hockey drops in to talk about the Islanders who are, depending on your connection to reality, either underperforming or performing just as you always expected.