NHL Odds, Picks and Predictions: Islanders vs. Flyers Game 3 Betting Preview (Saturday, Aug. 29)
Elsa, Getty Images. Pictured: Claude Giroux
- The Islanders take on the Flyers in Game 3 of their series.
- Pete Truszkowski thinks a well-rested goalie could be the difference, so he's leaning toward the Isles.
- Check out Truszkowski's full preview with odds, picks, and predictions ahead of tonight's game.
Islanders vs. Flyers Odds
|Islanders Odds||-114 [BET NOW]|
|Flyers Odds||-103 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||5 (-120/+100) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Sat., 7 p.m. ET|
The best-of-seven series between the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers is knotted at one game apiece, but it took a roller coaster ride to get to this point.
This series took a wild and interesting turn in Game 2 on Wednesday afternoon. Philadelphia roared out to a 3-0 lead during the first period before New York scored three unanswered goals, including a Jean-Gabriel Pageau goal with just over two minutes left, to tie the game and force overtime.
In OT, the Flyers regained their composure and equalized the series after Philippe Myers’ shot deflected off Anders Lee and past Thomas Greiss to clinch Game 2.
So, how does a colossal collapse that ends up turning into a huge overtime victory change this series moving forward? Let’s try to make sense of it.
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Fifteen minutes into Game 2, Flyers fans were probably thinking to themselves that they finally got their team back. After a solid round-robin portion of their schedule, the Flyers barely squeezed past the Montreal Canadiens in the first round before the Isles blitzed them in a 4-0 win to open the second round.
The good news for the Flyers was that their big names finally got on the board. Kevin Hayes caught Semyon Varlamov cheating off the post twice in the first 10 minutes, beating him near-side both times. These were only Hayes’ second and third goals of the postseason. Sean Couturier outmuscled Nick Leddy and beat Varlamov laterally to make it 3-0 and finally record his first goal of the second season. The lack of production from the big names has been a growing concern for Philadelphia.
The Flyers still have not lost back-to-back games since January, often because of standout goaltending performances from Carter Hart.
The first period of Game 2 was actually relatively even. The Islanders had five high-danger scoring chances compared to just two from the Flyers. The Isles had a 0.93-0.7 expected goals advantage. Despite this, the Flyers had a 3-0 lead.
The reason? Carter Hart made big saves while Varlamov couldn’t stop a beach ball.
The concern for the Flyers has to be the 3-0 lead they blew. Is it possible to forget the fact you relinquished a 3-0 lead because you ended up winning the game? Is it fair to say that some doubt has to creep into the minds of the Flyers?
What we saw in Game 1 was Philadelphia basically quitting when the Isles took a 2-0 lead in the third period. The Islanders reacted completely differently when faced with their own deficit. Is it coaching? Desire to win? Either way, any time you blow a three-goal lead, there has to be a cause for concern.
New York Islanders
Less than a minute into the first period, Varlamov broke Billy Smith’s Islanders franchise record for longest playoff shutout streak. By the end of the period, he was out of the game and watching from the sidelines. The Russian netminder has been a rock in between the pipes for the Islanders through their first 10 games in the bubble, but that wasn’t the case in Game 2.
You could tell from the very start he was fighting it. Hayes caught Varlamov leaning off his post twice, and then Sean Couturier beat him to the far post on a choppy, slow, lateral drag move. Barry Trotz had seen enough, and he was pulled for Thomas Greiss.
The Islanders clawed their way back into the game, showing they are not at all intimidated by the higher-seeded Flyers. Though the scoreboard seemed nearly out of control, the Islanders’ game on the ice never came close to unhinged.
When a team goes down 3-0 in a game, you have to adjust the metrics for score effects. Even when you do this, the Islanders had 53.4% of the shot attempts, 65.4% of high danger chances and 61.2% of expected goals. The Islanders had a full goal advantage in the expected goals category (2.75-1.75).
Speaking of expected goals, the Islanders are allowing just 1.81 per 60 minutes during 5-on-5 throughout these playoffs. In terms of high-danger chances, only Tampa Bay allows fewer than the 7.93 the Islanders concede per 60. This is a team that plays suffocating defense and has usually gotten the goaltending to back it up.
Even though they lost the game, I do think the Islanders get some momentum out of this one. They erased a 3-0 deficit and clawed back against an elite goalie in Hart. The Islanders have controlled pace in both games of the series thus far and can go into Game 3 of this series knowing they can overcome a poor goaltending performance and that they are never out of a game.
The lines in this game make sense. You have a Flyers team that is slightly more talented and performed better than the opponent during the regular season. Philadelphia is seeded higher but not currently performing at the top of its game.
Then you have the Islanders, who are playing extremely strong hockey and have been better than their opponent almost every game they’ve played in the bubble.
These two basically cancel each other out, and therefore, you’re essentially left with a pick ’em in Game 3.
At this point, I’m expecting the Islanders to go back to Varlamov in net given how splendid he has been throughout the tournament prior to Game 2. The rest he received in the second and third periods should help him moving forward, too.
I’m also assuming the Flyers to go back to Hart, who has been their MVP in these playoffs. He’s only 22 years old, so the back-to-back shouldn’t have much of an impact.
In a matchup where I expect close games and a long series, we look for any advantage we can get. The Islanders should have the more rested goalie in net, which could be the difference they need to take Game 3.
I can’t fault anyone for taking either side here. The Islanders have been the better team these past few weeks. Do you believe a team can gain momentum from a game it loses? Can a team start to doubt itself in a game it ends up winning?
At this price, I prefer the steadiness of the Islanders.