No. 6 Islanders vs. No. 1 Flyers
3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS
New York leads best-of-7 series, 1-0
Semyon Varlamov seeks his third straight shutout when the New York Islanders look to extend their series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Wednesday.
Varlamov made 29 saves in a 4-0 win in Game 1 on Monday and has a shutout streak of 136:20, 40 seconds from breaking the Islanders record in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (Billy Smith; 136:59 in 1980) and a little more than two periods from their all-time record (Glenn Resch; 178:29 from Dec. 2-12, 1975).
Varlamov last allowed a goal at 3:40 of the third period in Game 4 of the first round against the Washington Capitals. He made 21 saves in a 4-0 shutout in Game 5 against Washington.
“He’s a backbone for us,” Islanders forward Brock Nelson said Tuesday. “It’s nice knowing that we have him behind us. If there’s a breakdown or error, he can bail us out.”
The Flyers will look to get some production from their top offensive players. Their top five goal scorers from the regular season, Travis Konecny (24), Kevin Hayes (23), Sean Couturier (22), Claude Giroux (21) and James van Riemsdyk (19), have combined for one postseason goal.
“I believe in them, they’re good players, they’ve proved it all along,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “Now they get an opportunity to go at it [in Game 2] and show they’re elite players in this League.”
Teams that win Game 1 are 485-220 (68.7 percent) winning a best-of-7 series, including a 7-1 record in the first round this season. Teams with a 2-0 lead are 328-51 (86.5 percent), including 4-0 in the first round.
Here are 3 keys to Game 2:
1. Flyers’ resiliency after losses
Since Jan. 7, the Flyers are 10-0-0 after a loss, including 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They’ve averaged 4.40 goals and allowed 1.90 per game.
“Our guys have always bounced back and [Game 2] will be a big test of that,” Vigneault said.
2. Islanders need to play 60 minutes
The Islanders outshot the Flyers 15-4 in the first period of Game 1 and led 1-0 but were outshot 25-14 for the rest of the game.
“I didn’t care for our game [Monday],” New York coach Barry Trotz said. “First period was real strong and then I thought we were very average.”
Defenseman Andy Greene said the challenge will be sustaining that level of play for an entire game.
“Second period we got away from our game a little bit and they took it to us,” Greene said. “We saw how the first and third period went, that’s more of what we need out of our game.”
3. Conserving energy
The Flyers and Islanders will play two games in a span of 28 hours, and the first four games of the series in a span of six days.
“That’s something that’s obviously going to be the same for both teams,” Vigneault said. “… It will be interesting to see how players react. It’s going to be up to the coaches to decide who looks fresh, who looks like they have energy and can execute and perform on the ice. Each team is going to have some hard decisions as each game moves forward.”
Islanders projected lineup
Anders Lee — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Ross Johnston — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Leo Komarov
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews — Scott Mayfield
Nick Leddy — Andy Greene
Scratched: Derick Brassard, Michael Dal Colle, Otto Koivula, Tom Kuhnhackl, Andrew Ladd, Sebastian Aho, Johnny Boychuk, Noah Dobson, Thomas Hickey, Christopher Gibson
Unfit to play: None
Flyers projected lineup
Claude Giroux — Sean Couturier — Jakub Voracek
Joel Farabee — Kevin Hayes — Travis Konecny
Scott Laughton — Derek Grant — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Michael Raffl — Nate Thompson — Tyler Pitlick
Ivan Provorov — Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim — Philippe Myers
Shayne Gostisbehere — Justin Braun
Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Connor Bunnaman, Morgan Frost, Oskar Lindblom, James van Riemsdyk, Mark Friedman, Robert Hagg, Andy Welinski, Egor Zamula, Alex Lyon, Kirill Ustimenko
Unfit to play: None
Clutterbuck and Pelech are expected to play after each appeared to be injured blocking a shot in Game 1. … Vigneault would not comment on potential lineup changes.