Philadelphia (34-24-12) at NY Islanders (38-23-9)
When: Monday, March 21st 2016
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: NBC Sports Network
The Philadelphia Flyers visit the New York Islanders on Monday in an important match for both teams with the end of the regular season only a few weeks away. The Flyers had two huge wins last week on back-to-back nights over the Red Wings and Blackhawks to temporarily take over the 8th and final Eastern Conference Playoff spot, but dropped a 4-1 decision at home to the Penguins on Saturday afternoon. The Red Wings victory that night put the Flyers three points behind Detroit with two games in hand. Goalie Steve Mason is expected to shoulder the load with Philadelphia announcing on Sunday that fellow goaltender and former Islander Michal Neuvirth is sidelined for the rest of the regular season with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Neuvirth’s absence could really hurt the Flyers down the stretch as they play four back-to-backs among their final 12 games. Goaltender Anthony Stolarz, who has yet to play in an NHL game, was recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League. Mason has had success against the Islanders going 6-2-3 with two shutouts in his career. He was in net in the Flyers’ 4-0 win over the Islanders on January 9th.
The Islanders are in a bit of slump, but return home where they have been terrific as of late. New York has lost three games in a row for the first time in three months after a dreadful road trip. The Islanders scored a total of 3 goals in losses to Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Nashville. New York is 6-0-1 in its last seven games played at Barclays Center and 8 of their final 12 games are at home including the regular season finale against these Flyers. The recent skid has dropped the Islanders into the 7th spot in the East, just two points ahead of 8th place Detroit and five points ahead of 9th place Philadelphia. Captain John Tavares, who is slated to play in his 500th career game on Monday, has recorded six points (three goals, three assists) in his last eight games to take over the team lead with 56. Tavares has great numbers against the Flyers in his career tallying 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) in 33 meetings. Kyle Okposo (19 goals, 55 points) scored in the first meeting with the Flyers this season and also scored the shootout winner in the next one.
The Flyers have been playing really well lately, especially on the road. They are 8-2-1 overall in their last 11 games and the Islanders are in a scoring slump. I’m not laying 145 on a team that has lost three straight. I’ll take the underdog in this one.
Pick: Flyers +135