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Flyers v. Islanders: What to Look Out For

The New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers will face off on April 3 at 7 pm EST.

The Islanders are coming into their game against the Flyers off of an impressive 8-4 win over the Washington Capitals. The Flyers are coming in off a disappointing 6-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

The two teams are currently on the opposite ends of the playoff spectrum as the Islanders fight for first place in the division and the Flyers struggle to secure a playoff spot. Despite the opposite momentum of these teams, the game should be fun to watch.

The Islanders Explosive Offense

Image Courtesy of AP Photo

Matthew Barzal recorded five points for the New York Islanders against the Washington Capitals on April 1. One of Barzal’s three goals came when he skated the puck end to end, beating four Washington players and goaltender Vitek Vanecek. When a player can score on a one-on-four, he has skill.

Barzal also has passing ability. He recorded two assists against Washington, both on goals scored by linemate Jordan Eberle. Eberle also had quite a night for the Islanders, recording two goals and an assist.

Offensive contributions for the Islanders do often come from first-liners like Barzal and Eberle, but the rest of the team is also talented and brings offensive skill to the ice. For example,  Islanders’ second-line center Brock Nelson recorded a goal and an assist against the Capitals, bringing him up to five points in his last six games.

The eight-goal performance for the Islanders is a welcome sight for fans following the teams’ two straight losses against the Pittsburgh Penguins. While the Capitals may have been shocked to see New York put up so many points, it should not come as a huge surprise when one looks at the Islanders roster. The team is full of talent and will likely continue their strong offensive efforts into the game against the Flyers.

Recent Struggles for the Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers are 4-5-1 in their past 10 games. This includes two losses to the Islanders and most recently, a loss to the Buffalo Sabres. The loss to the Sabres on March 31 ended Buffalo’s 18 game losing streak and will remain a sore spot for the Flyers fanbase.

Image Courtesy of AP Photo

In the month of March, Philadelphia posted the NHLs worst goals-against average with an average of 4.41 goals against per game. Goaltender Carter Hart was deemed a healthy scratch for the Flyers on March 29 and March 31 following his subpar performances. Hart will start in net for the Flyers against the Islanders and he will hopefully return ready to play.

While goaltending has been an issue, it is unfair to blame large goal deficits solely on goaltenders. The Flyers defensive play has been struggling as well. Untimely turnovers and poor defensive playmaking have contributed to offensive chances for the Flyers’ opponents and have caused problems for Philadelphia goalies.

Despite the Flyers’ recent struggles, they do have a talented team. Goalscoring and offensive playmaking are not huge problems for Philadelphia. Physicality is also a good component of the Flyers’ game. The Islanders have their own defensive struggles, so if the Flyers put the month of March behind them and show up ready to play offense and defense, they stand a decent chance of winning.

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