The New York Islanders will face the Philadelphia Flyers just five days after beating them in a shootout. While the Islanders currently boast the best record in the East Division, with everything seeming to go right, the Flyers have been struggling immensely despite having one of the more talented rosters in the game. With the recent game being a shootout contest, we can expect this game to be an entertaining one as well.
Flyers defense has been awful this seasonThe Flyers were poised to be one of the best teams in the NHL this season but only winning 18 of their 38 games would hint otherwise. The defense has been particularly bad this season as the unit allows 3.5 goals per game and has struggled across the board. Ivan Provorov and Justin Braun have played well this season, combining for 3.6 defensive point shares and 117 blocked shots but the backend of the unit has played terribly. In addition, Carter Hart was one of the best young goaltenders in the NHL last season but the 22-year-old goalie is allowing 3.8 goals per game and saving only .871 percent of shots.
While the defense has struggled, the offense has been inconsistent this season, scoring 2.9 goals per game but having some games where they pile on the goals and other games where they are silent. Joel Farabee and James van Riemsdyk have combined for 27 goals while Claude Giroux, Kevin Hayes, and Sean Couturier all have 11 goals each. Unfortunately, the offense drops off after that and as a result, the team continues to struggle.
Islanders defense has been incredible this seasonThe Islanders have won 25 of their 39 games this season for the best record in the East Division. The team has played great across the board this season but the defense has been leading the team's success this season, allowing only 2.2 goals per game. The defense is led by Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock, who have combined for 5.6 defensive point shares and 120 blocked shots but Andy Greene, Nick Leddy, and Scott Mayfield have also played well this season combining for 6.3 defensive point shares to give the team a deep defensive unit. In addition, the Islanders have gotten great play from goaltenders Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov, who have allowed fewer than 2.2 goals per game while also saving more than .914 percent of shots.
🧱 Varlamov 🧱— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) April 7, 2021
Check out some of Varlamov’s 2️⃣9️⃣ saves last night ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/JI11X9SHPP
While the defense has played great this season, the offense has seen its struggles, especially after Anders Lee went down to a season-ending injury as they score only 2.9 goals per game. Brock Nelson has led the way with 14 goals while Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle have led the top line with 13 goals each. In addition to the great play on the top lines, Jean-Gabriel Pageau leads the third line with 11 goals per game.