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Round 2, Game 1 Preview: Flyers-Islanders

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

For the first time in eight years, the Flyers won a playoff series. They are one of eight teams remaining in the quest for the Stanley Cup.

At this point in the playoffs, there are no easy matchups, and after having their share of struggles against the 12-seed Montreal Canadiens, the Flyers move on to face the seven-seed New York Islanders, a team that plays a similar style with much more depth and much more physicality. This series is sure to be a battle from start to finish.

Game 1 is set for 7 p.m.

Team Leaders

Philadelphia Flyers GP G A P New York Islanders GP G A P
Jake Voracek 8 4 4 8 Josh Bailey 9 2 8 10
Kevin Hayes 9 1 6 7 Anthony Beauvillier 9 6 3 9
Scott Laughton 9 3 2 5 Mathew Barzal 9 3 4 7
Sean Couturier 9 0 5 5 Brock Nelson 9 3 4 7
Michael Raffl 5 3 1 4 Jean-Gabriel Pageau 9 4 2 6
 
Player to Watch
14 Sean Couturier 13 Mathew Barzal
Last 5 Games: 0 G, 3 A, 3 P, -1 Last 5 Games: 2 G, 2 A, 4 P, +3
 
The Flyers need to reach another level if they want to have success against the Islanders, and Sean Couturier will certainly be the focus. Couturier does not have a goal yet in the playoffs, and he will be responsible for trying to contain the Islanders top line as well. 
 
When you think of the Islanders, you have to begin with Mathew Barzal. His skill is off the charts, and he's already shown it a number of times against the Flyers. In 11 career games against the Flyers, Barzal has six goals and 11 assists for 17 points.
 
Projected Goalie Matchup
79 Carter Hart 40 Semyon Varlamov
8 GP, 6-2-0, 1.71 GAA, .943 SV% 9 GP, 7-2-0, 1.67 GAA, .934 SV%

Carter Hart followed up a shaky Game 5 with a solid Game 6, allowing two goals on 33 shots to help the Flyers lock up the first-round series against the Canadiens. The Islanders will certainly be coming in waves against Hart and the Flyers as well, so he will need to be sharp from the start to help keep the Flyers in the driver's seat in the series.

Semyon Varlamov was an underrated part of the Islanders series win over the Capitals. His numbers this postseason rank right up there at the top with the rest of the league and he has essentially taken over as the Islanders No. 1 one goalie after spending most of the season in a platoon with Thomas Greiss. Varlamov will be back in goal to open the second-round series against the Flyers.

Flyers Projected Lineup

Left Wing Center Right Wing
12 Michael Raffl 14 Sean Couturier 93 Jake Voracek
49 Joel Farabee 13 Kevin Hayes 11 Travis Konecny
38 Derek Grant 28 Claude Giroux 21 Scott Laughton
25 James van Riemsdyk 44 Nate Thompson 18 Tyler Pitlick
Defense    
9 Ivan Provorov 15 Matt Niskanen  
6 Travis Sanheim 5 Phil Myers  
53 Shayne Gostisbehere 61 Justin Braun  
Goalie    
79 Carter Hart 37 Brian Elliott  

Islanders Projected Lineup

Left Wing Center Right Wing
27 Anders Lee 13 Mathew Barzal 7 Jordan Eberle
18 Anthony Beauvillier 29 Brock Nelson 12 Josh Bailey
10 Derick Brassard 44 Jean-Gabriel Pageau 47 Leo Komarov
17 Matt Martin 53 Casey Cizikas 15 Cal Clutterbuck
Defense    
3 Adam Pelech 6 Ryan Pulock  
25 Devon Toews 24 Scott Mayfield  
2 Nick Leddy 4 Andy Greene  
Goalie    
40 Semyon Varlamov 1 Thomas Greiss  

Lineup Notes

  • Flyers: Nicolas Aube-Kubel skated in the last couple of days, but there is no indication that he will be back in the lineup. The only change from Game 6 will be that Matt Niskanen will return to the lineup. It remains to be seen which of the three defensemen that have played on the third pairing comes out of the lineup.
  • Islanders: The Islanders will likely stick with the same lineup they used when they finished their series against the Capitals. They may have Cal Clutterbuck back on the fourth line after he missed some time in the previous series. Barry Trotz said that all players were participants in practice.

Game Notes

  • Power Play: Flyers (22nd), Islanders (14th)
  • Penalty Kill: Flyers (15th), Islanders (T-20th)
  • Recent History vs. Islanders
    • Oct. 27, 2019 - Islanders 5, Flyers 3 (at NYI)
    • Nov. 16, 2019 - Islanders 4, Flyers 3 (F/SO) (at PHI)
    • Feb. 11, 2020 - Islanders 5, Flyers 3 (at NYI)
  • Flyers Leaders vs. Islanders (Career Regular Season Stats)
    • Claude Giroux - 52 GP, 18 G, 38 A, 56 P
    • Jake Voracek - 42 GP, 6 G, 27 A, 33 P
    • James van Riemsdyk - 37 GP, 11 G, 17 A, 28 P
    • Sean Couturier - 37 GP, 10 G, 18 A, 28 P
    • Matt Niskanen - 38 GP, 4 G, 14 A, 18 P
    • Carter Hart - 2 GP, 0-2-0, 6.23 GAA, .833 SV%

Where to Watch
TV: NBCSN
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic/97.3 ESPN

YWT: The Philadelphia Flyers Podcast

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