NHL Hockey: Philadelphia Flyers at New York Islanders

Metropolitan Division action for Sunday as the Philadelphia Flyers try to maintain a winning streak as they hit the road to take on the red hot New York Islanders. Philadelphia has won 3 straight but are essentially treading water on the season at 5-3-1 for 11 points. They’ve played well at home (4-1-0) but struggled on the road (1-2-1)-.

The Islanders bumbled through their first few games going 1-3-0 but all of a sudden they’ve caught fire winning six straight with three victories at home and three on the road. During they’ve won at home against Florida, St. Louis and Arizona and on the road against Columbus, Winnipeg and Arizona. The Islanders have been very good on defense of late–they’re tied with Vancouver for the #5 team defense in hockey allowing 2.40 goals per game. The offense needs to pick it up a bit–Isles #20 in goals per game scoring 2.8 per contest for a differential of +0.40.

Philadelphia played at home last night against Columbus putting them in a second of back to back situation against a rested Islanders team. Brian Elliott got the start last night so that will put Carter Hart between the pipes for the second of back to backs. Hart is tabbed as the Flyers’ ‘goalie of the future’ and at age 21 he’s still growing into the role. He’s got a 2-2-1 record a 2.59 goals against average and a 0.890 save percentage. He’s projected to match up with former Colorado netminder Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov has been splitting time with Thomas Greiss giving the Islanders a nice one-two punch in net. Varlamov is 3-2-0 with a 2.42 goals against average and a 0.921 save percentage.

Isles look to be the better team in better form and are rested and playing well. Some lookahead potential to a couple of big games ahead–November 1 at home against Tampa Bay and the following night at Buffalo against the high flying Sabres. They’ve got several days off, however, so the focus should be on the task at hand. Note that 7 of the last 8 head to head have gone ‘Over’ the total.


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