“Miserable” would be one of the many words used to describe the mood around the Philadelphia Flyers, who have lost seven of their first nine games. Meanwhile, the New York Islanders have been up and down to start the regular season, but they are managing to tread water and that is all they are expected to do. The Islanders host their rivals from Philly on Saturday night.
The Flyers have won six of their last 10 against the Islanders with six games falling under the posted total. Six of the games have been decided by a single goal. They have been even better on the road against the Islanders, winning eight of their last 10 with seven games coming in under the posted total.
The Philadelphia Flyers can win because…
Their defense and in particular, their goaltending, has been actually pretty good despite their early-season struggles. People who make their sports picks should note that Steve Mason has a 2.17 GAA and a .930 save percentage over his first six starts and if it wasn’t for him, the Flyers would have been blown out of many games. Their penalty kill has also been decent at an 81.6% success rate, allowing seven goals on 38 attempts, but it has to be as the Flyers have had trouble staying out of the sin bin.
Outside of the goaltending, there isn’t a lot to hang your hat on in Philadelphia. To say the offense has been atrocious is being very generous. 13 goals in nine games means that the Flyers have scored the second-fewest goals this eason. Claude Giroux hasn’t lit the lamp yet nor has Jacob Voracek, while Vincent Lecavalier and Wayne Simmonds have just one goal apiece. On top of that, Scotty Hartnell is injured. These are trying times in the City of Brotherly Love right now. At least they’ll face a team they have had plenty of success against on Saturday.
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The New York Islanders can win because…
They have an offense that is young and getting better all the time. The Islanders have scored 28 goals over their first nine games, led by five from Frans Nielsen and Matt Moulson. John Tavares continues his ascent into full-fledged stardom with four goals and a team-leading 11 points. It may not be long before we’re mentioning the young captain alongside names like Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos. The Islanders have just four wins in 10 games three of their losses were in overtime. That shows that this young team is competing every night.
Evgeni Nabokov has even been solid in goal with a 2.79 GAA and a save percentage of .905. If he stays steady on Saturday night, they’ll have the upper hand.
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Outlook & Pick
The Flyers are a train wreck right now. Yes, they got their second win of the season on Thursday but that came against the equally-lowly Rangers, who also have just four points. Although they typically play well against the Islanders, we can’t add them to our NHL picks given how they’ve played. The NHL odds aren’t too pricey on the Islanders; take a shot with them.
NHL Pick: Islanders -129 at Bet365