The New York Islanders are taking on the Philadelphia Flyers tonight for Game 6 with a chance to close out the series and advance to the Conference Final.
After dropping Game 5 in overtime, the Islanders are forced to focus up for Game 6 with a chance to close out this series once again. With a strong push in the third period, they were able to come back and force overtime in a game they had no business being in.
Barry Trotz said after Game 4 that it was the worst game of the playoffs that they played. Well, after Game 5 I think he’d like to change up his answer.
So going into Game 6, I have a few predictions that I want to talk about. Here’s what I think you can expect from the Islanders tonight:
Semyon Varlamov Bounces Back
I don’t think Varly was bad in Game 5, even though he was technically on the hook for four goals, but I expect a strong performance for the Islanders netminder. In clinching games for the Islanders, he’s allowed a combined one goal over the two games (Game 4 vs Florida and Game 5 vs Washington).
With a .929 save percentage and a 1.85 goals against average in the playoffs, you really can’t ask for too much more from Varly. Tonight, I think he stops 27 of 27 for a 1.000 save percentage in a shutout win.
Derick Brassard Sits
I know, Brassard scored the game tying goal for the Isles in Game 5, but he also sat for 10 minutes in between shifts. He was benched for an awful attempt at an exit that resulted in a Flyers goal.
I think I’d go with Tom Kuhnackl but I also see Ross Johnston and Michael Dal Colle as options for Barry Trotz as well. The Isles issue hasn’t been goal scoring, they need someone who can play a little more consistent defensively.
Barzal Returns and Scores
Not only will Mathew Barzal return to the lineup in Game 6 after exiting Game 5 due to a high stick, he will also score a goal. Barzal has four playoff goals so far and I think he gets number five tonight in a statement game for the Islanders.
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Well, we made it this far I might as well give you a prediction. I think the Islanders win 2-0 with goals from Barzal and J.G. Pageau. Advance like it’s 1993, let’s do the thing.