NHL Odds & Pick for Islanders vs. Flyers: Fade Philly at Home (Sunday, April 18)
Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Palmieri.
- Coming off back-to-back losses in Boston, the Flyers are just what the Islanders need.
- Philadelphia's defense and goaltending have struggled this season, while the Isles made some big upgrades at the trade deadline.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down why he's on the Islanders on Sunday.
Islanders vs. Flyers Odds
|Time||Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via DraftKings|
The struggling Flyers will play host to a strong Islanders club that comes to Wells Fargo Center looking for a win after back-to-back losses. Philadelphia gave up a big total again on Saturday, losing 6-3 to the Washington Capitals.
Philadelphia have been arguably the league’s biggest disappointment, unable to build upon last year’s success and likely to miss the playoffs in a very tough East Division. Numerous defenders have taken a step backwards this season, especially when they’ve been exposed by what has been the league’s worst goaltending tandem in Carter Hart and Brian Elliott.
The Flyers have skated to a stronger xGF% over their last 10 games at 51.47%, but I feel that the nature of some of the defensive zone breakdowns is somewhat under credited in the metric. Combine that with very shaky goaltending, and the result has been a lot of pucks in the Flyers cage.
Wade Allison has been one of the lone positives for the Flyers this week. The 23-year-old has impressed in his first NHL games, bringing a lot of energy with a tenacious work rate for which he was rewarded with his first NHL goal on Saturday.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.
Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.
The Isles have stayed true to their form under head coach Barry Trotz again this year, building on a strong showing in last year’s playoff bubble, which concluded after a Game 6 loss to the Lightning, who would go on to hoist the Stanley Cup, in the Eastern Conference final.
General manager Lou Lamoriello made a reasonable decision to bring in forwards Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri at the trade deadline, bolstering a roster that is a legitimate cup contender and help fill the void left by captain Anders Lee’s season-ending knee injury.
Two tough losses in Boston to a strong Bruins club is certainly not enough to steer my belief that this Isles club will again be a very tough out in the playoffs, and the play-driving numbers over a larger sample of the Isles last 10 remain strong, including a 53.4% xGF%.
The Isles sit four points behind Washington for tops in the East Division, with New York having played one less game. Realistically, however, I do not believe there is much benefit or great concern to winning the division since it is hard to say what matchup you are hoping for or likely to receive out of four very good teams in the Penguins, Bruins, Capitals and Islanders, all of whom are separated by only six points.
The Rangers are pushing for a spot, as well, 5-0-1 over their last six and nipping at the heels of any potential slip up from the top teams in the division.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This Isles team is significantly more well-structured, the puck management on the back end is almost to-a-man stronger and this is an important game for them to get back on a track in a highly competitive division.
The Isles come in off two losses in regulation to a strong Boston club, and I think we can trust Trotz’s group to come out with some urgency and create some issues for a porous Flyers defensive core. But even if Philly can dig in and find a strong effort against what should be a hungry Islanders group, they will certainly need to see better goaltending than they have received most nights this year to have a chance.
There’s a very reasonable chance that the Flyers start Elliott with Hart dealing with an injury and Alex Lyon playing yesterday vs Washington. The aging veteran has shown very poor lateral movement so far this year, en route to a .888 SV% and a -13.3 goals saved above expected rating, according to Moneypuck.
I like this spot a lot for a strong Islanders club to get back in the win column. Betting early on the Islanders is a good choice here as I do not see much reason for money to come in on Philly, and I think we will certainly see something closer to -150 or worse by game time tomorrow.
Pick: New York Islanders -136