No. 1 Flyers vs. No. 6 Islanders
8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS
New York leads best-of-7 series, 2-1
The New York Islanders look to extend their series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Sunday.
It’s the second of a back-to-back; the Islanders took the series lead with 3-1 victory in Game 4 in Toronto, the Eastern hub city, on Saturday.
Teams with a 3-1 lead are 284-29 (90.7 percent) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series, including 6-0 in the first round this season. The Islanders are 8-2 all-time when they lead 2-1 in a best-of-7 series.
Here are 3 keys for Game 4:
1. Contributions from Giroux, Konecny
This will be the Flyers’ 13th game of the NHL postseason, but two of their top four goal scorers from the regular season — forwards Travis Konecny (24) and Claude Giroux (21) are still without a goal.
“They’ve been our top-end skilled players all year long,” Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault said. “They’ve found a way to get on the score sheet at important times. I’m confident that not just [Giroux] and [Konecny], but our whole group understands that the game we’re playing tonight is our most important one so far this year. So, trying hard is not going to be good enough. We’ve got to bring a better game.
“We’re playing against a really strong opponent that’s got skill and it’s got depth, and we need to be at our best throughout our lineup. It can’t be just a goaltender, it can’t be just one or two forwards. It has to be a four-line, six-group defensemen and a great performance by our goaltender that’s going to permit us to win tonight’s game that’s the most important game we’ve had to play so far. We’re going to need to be real good tonight.”
2. Stronger start
The Islanders have been dominant in the third period in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; they’ve outscored the Flyers 6-0 after outscoring the Washington Capitals 7-1 in the first round. But New York has trailed after the first period in each of the past two games, a trend it would like to reverse Sunday.
“We didn’t get off to the start we wanted to last night,” Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech said. “We turned it around in the second and third and played great in the second and third, I thought. But I think tonight it’s going to be very important to get off to a good start.”
3. Fight back against the forecheck
The Flyers have had few answers for the Islanders’ tenacious forecheck in this series and have been unable to sustain time in the offensive zone. They were outshot 13-1 from the time forward Tyler Pitlick gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead at 14:18 of the first period until Islanders forward Matt Martin tied it 7:12 into the second.
“It’s a matter of executing better,” Vigneault said. “At the same time, I say that the Islanders are making it very hard on us. They’re a good team, they’re a four-line team, a heavy team that is hard on the forecheck. The make it challenging for the defense, for the goaltender to set up pucks, for forwards to help our D.
“Give them a lot of credit. They’re without a doubt … they’re in the final eight, they’re one of the best teams we’ve played against so far this year. It’s a tough series.”
Flyers projected lineup
Claude Giroux — Sean Couturier — Jakub Voracek
Joel Farabee — Kevin Hayes — Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk — Scott Laughton — Tyler Pitlick
Derek Grant — Nate Thompson — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov — Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim — Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg — Justin Braun
Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Connor Bunnaman, Morgan Frost, Michael Raffl, Oskar Lindblom, Mark Friedman, Shayne Gostisbehere, Andy Welinski, Egor Zamula, Alex Lyon, Kirill Ustimenko
Unfit to play: None
Islanders projected lineup
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Derick Brassard — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Leo Komarov
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews — Scott Mayfield
Nick Leddy — Johnny Boychuk
Scratched: Michael Dal Colle, Ross Johnston, Otto Koivula, Tom Kuhnhackl, Andrew Ladd, Sebastian Aho, Noah Dobson, Andy Greene, Thomas Hickey, Christopher Gibson
Unfit to play: None
Vigneault said the Flyers are “still in the process” of determining potential lineup changes. … Islanders coach Barry Trotz said “you probably might see one or two” changes to their lineup.