Spying on the Saboteur: Philadelphia Flyers vs New York Islanders

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Streaks and records are meant to be broken. While the achievement is great, the mark of a great team is one that can recover after a deflating loss. That is exactly what the Philadelphia Flyers hope to do as they take on the visiting New York Islanders. After losing in regulation last night on the road against the Ottawa Senators, the Flyers are back home. In the Wells Fargo Center this season, Philadelphia plays some of their best hockey.

All of a sudden, the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves on the wrong side streaks. They’re on a two-game skid and last night was the fifth game in a row decided by one goal. The opportunity to right the ship just 24 hours later is here, but the Flyers have only won one game in four tries when specifically speaking about the second game in back-to-back stands. Speaking of streaks, the New York Islanders are the hottest team in the NHL, with a point streak lasting 13 games. This is a rematch between the two franchises this season and Philadelphia has redemption on their mind, losing 5-3 previously.

Carter Hart had the start last night against the Ottawa Senators, so the indication is that Brian Elliott will start tonight against the New York Islanders. The tentative opponent in the opposite goal for the Islanders is Thomas Greiss. Over the last ten games, New York holds the advantage over the Philadelphia Flyers, 6-4. The Flyers are reporting Nolan Patrick and Scott Laughton as injured on their report. The Islanders are reporting Matt Martin and Tom Kuhnhackl as injured on their report.

New York Islanders – Skaters

Mathew Barzal is the leading scorer for the New York Islanders and the player to watch this game. The Islanders greatly benefit when he is on the ice, maintaining a +/- of 13. His 16 points consist of seven goals and assists during even-strength hockey with one goal and assist while on the powerplay. Barzal is scoring on 19.5% of his shots this season. Expect to see Barzal set the tone with Anders Lee.

Adam Pelech is the stand out defenseman on the New York Islanders. With a team-best +/- of eight throughout the defensemen, he and Ryan Pulock have a nose for stopping shots before they get to the net. Pelech has blocked 42 shots this season and dished out 31 hits. Offensively, Pelech has contributed five points. One of those points was an even-strength goal and the other four were assists, including one shorthanded.

New York Islanders – Goaltenders

In eight starts this season, Thomas Greiss won seven and only lost one. He’s yet to play in overtime or a shootout this season. If the Philadelphia Flyers wind up in a shootout scenario, that may be the way around Greiss. Playing great hockey this season, Greiss has yet to have a poor start while tallying seven quality starts in his eight. This season, he maintains a 94.2% save percentage and yields a 1.88 goal against average.

Faceoff Possession

Between the two franchises, the Philadelphia Flyers are the only ones with a team faceoff percentage over 50%. The New York Islanders are at 48.8% while the Flyers maintain 54.3%. On the Islanders, the best faceoff opportunists are Casey Cizikas, Derick Brassard, and Josh Bailey. For Philadelphia, the Flyers look to Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, and Michael Raffl. The advantage here stays with Philadelphia.

Prediction

If the Philadelphia Flyers get the win in regulation tonight, they will be back in sole position of third place in the Metropolitan Division and trail the New York Islanders by two points for second place. That being said, this is a must-win for the Flyers at home to recharge this team. It is hard to deny the Islanders’ current run, but streaks are meant to be broken. Philadelphia was brought down the Ottawa Senators last night, so they are looking to take New York down with them. My prediction is 3-1 in favor of the Islanders.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The money line favors the New York Islanders at -110 with an over-under set at 6. Follow me at EricReesePSN and Philly Sports Network at PhiladelphiaSN on Twitter!

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