On paper, the Second Round series between Alain Vigneault’s Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7 in the regular season, 7-2 in the postseason) and Barry Trotz’s New York Islanders (35-23-10 regular season, 7-2 postseason) shapes up to be a low-scoring, grind-it-out contest.
The Flyers have allowed only 16 goals across their nine playoff games to date, while the Islanders have given up just 15. The two teams were also very close in regular season goals against average; the Flyers were tied for 7th at 2.77 and the Islanders were next at 2.79 goals allowed per game.
Philly was the better regular season offensive time, scoring 3.29 goals per game while the Islanders were in the bottom one-third of the league at 2.79 goals per game. The Flyers ranked 7th offensively, while the Islanders ranked 22nd. However, that has reversed so far in the playoffs. The Isles have scored 30 postseason goals so far to the Flyers’ 22.
As the old saying goes, there’s a reason why hockey is played on ice and not on paper.
The Flyers pride themselves on being a well-balanced team that wins via depth, teamwide commitment to 200-foot play and giving their goalies a chance to, in turn, give the team a chance to win most nights.
The Islanders, one of the biggest and heaviest teams in the NHL, pride themselves on supporting their skilled players atop the lineup with a cadre of physically aggressive players, a teamwide commitment to shot-blocking and a similar approach to the Flyers in terms of giving its goaltender a fair chance at making saves on most of the shots that get through to him.