The Philadelphia Flyers match up against the New York Islanders in the second home-and-home game on back-to-back nights. The Islanders took the first exchange at UBS Arena, and the Flyers are looking to break the long losing streak at home to get sweet revenge against a divisional rival.
Not much has changed since we previewed these teams other than one win went to the Islanders, and one loss unsurprisingly went to the Flyers. They’re both struggling teams with star players trying to revive their respective seasons. The Islanders are still trying to make the most of their season. They’ve played a fair number of fewer games due to Covid-19 problems early in the season, and they sit one game below .500 with a 12-13-6 record. With seven games in hand on the Flyers (yes, seven games), they sit only three points back of seventh place in the Metropolitan Division. With a head coach like Barry Trotz behind the bench, it’s certainly possible that we see the team turn around, especially given what they know they can do.
The Islanders have proven to be a threat in the playoffs to every team except the Tampa Bay Lightning, and that mojo hasn’t entirely been found due to injuries and sickness.
As for the Flyers, it’s getting awful, as if it wasn’t already. They sit on an eight-game losing streak (0-6-2), and they’re getting dangerously close to the bottom of the division. The changes behind the bench were necessary. Alain Vigneault’s time as head coach had come and gone, but Mike Yeo’s interim tenure looks bleaker and bleaker as each game passes. Whether or not he remains the head coach for the rest of the season or the Flyers have intentions of bringing in somebody else is still unknown. However, I can’t imagine this is what general manager Chuck Fletcher envisioned happening to the team after the change.
With Martin Jones playing the first of these two matchups, Carter Hart should be in the net at home, and after three of his last four outings have resulted in save percentages lower than .900 and all of them have been losses, tonight could be the perfect time to get back on track. With a 13-18-7 record, the Flyers could use it, and so could Hart.
Islanders Player to Watch
Barzal is always a player to watch when your favorite team plays the Islanders. He has five points in his last five games, which is team-leading, and his ability to create offense just using his skating is something to marvel at. However, an underrated player that I’m going to suggest Flyers fans watch is Oliver Wahlstrom. He had a primary assist on Anthony Beauvillier’s goal, and he led the team in expected goals for percentage (xGF%). He was also one of the Islanders’ leaders in individual expected goals (ixG). Essentially, he created lots of offense for the team, and he has been one of the team’s most underrated players. His shot is always a threat from anywhere on the ice, but his playmaking is also an underrated part of his arsenal.
Flyers Player to Watch
The first line with Giroux, Joel Farabee, and Cam Atkinson could all be listed in this section, but one player who FINALLY got a bounce to go his way and hit a milestone is Travis Konecny. The last time he scored a goal was November 18th against the Lightning, which was the 99th of his career. Now, he can say he has finally hit triple digits, even if it wasn’t in the most traditional way. Hopefully, the floodgates will open, and he will start to contribute to the goal-scoring more and add to his total. He was earning plenty of assists during his extended drought, but not scoring goals was detrimental to the team’s depth. It wasn’t as if he was playing a different game. He was the same old Konecny that everyone knows, being a pest to everyone that gets in his way, but he wasn’t putting pucks in the net. Now, we’ll see if that changes, and it would be great to start against a struggling team.
Joel Farabee - Claude Giroux - Cam Atkinson
Oskar Lindblom - Scott Laughton - Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk - Kevin Hayes - Gerald Mayhew
Morgan Frost - Connor Bunnaman - Zack MacEwen
Ivan Provorov - Travis Sanheim
Cam York - Justin Braun
Keith Yandle - Rasmus Ristolainen