The New York Islanders have been dominant against the Philadelphia Flyers, and have a chance to close out the conference semifinals with a win in Tuesday's Game 5.
If not for spotting Philly a 3-0 lead in the second meeting, this could've been a sweep already for the Isles. Instead, they'll seek to eliminate the East's top seed, whose electrifying offense has mostly disappeared save for Game 2's first period.
Below is the rest of abe Insights' preview, which provides the best odds, analysis of the key betting lines, stats to help your betting strategy and additional critical information to know.
Date: Tuesday, September 1
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Islanders 53%; Flyers 48%
Spread: NYI -1.5 (+240); PHI +1.5 (-265)
Moneyline: PHI +110; NYI -115
Both clubs played their backup goalies on the second leg of a back-to-back in Game 4. It was a bold move for each side, as Philadelphia's Carter Hart is only 22 years of age and probably could've swung it, and Semyon Varlamov leads all playoff netminders in GAA (1.69).
New York crease guarder Thomas Greiss fared better than Flyers veteran Brian Elliott. Weiss made 36 saves to give the Isles a prohibitive 3-1 edge. Varlamov and Hart will be back between the pipes tonight as the Orange and Black's season hangs in the balance.
216 vs. 185: What makes the battle even more uphill for Philadelphia is the fact that the Isles are so disciplined. Despite the Flyers ranking a decent 12th out of 31 teams in minor penalty minutes this season, they're not near New York, whose total was second-lowest in the NHL.
17.8 vs. 9.1: Related thread of thought: the Islanders are converting power plays at almost double the rate of Philadelphia in the playoffs. If the Flyers can't draw penalties or convert with the man advantage, they'll be hard-pressed to prevail in Game 5.
19 vs. 5: This stat was cited in our last write-up for these teams, but it bears repeating. It's the third-period goal postseason goal totals for New York and Philly respectively. The Islanders scored twice in Game 4's final period, and that proved to be the difference.
At least the Flyers can say they forechecked harder and had a better overall effort than prior games in the series the last time they hit the ice. Outshooting New York 38-33 was an encouraging sign, albeit one that didn't amount to a "W" that would've changed their entire outlook.
Instead, Philly is pushed to the brink of huge disappointment, although it isn't a total shock under the circumstances. Hart in particular fed off the Flyers home crowd this season, posting a ridiculous 20-3-2 record with a 1.63 GAA at Wells Fargo Center. He's had a strong 2.08 GAA in his maiden postseason, yet Hart is not quite to that home cooking level.
To be fair to Philly and its prodigious goalie, the Isles have simply looked like the better team throughout. They're capitalizing on the neutral venue as a sixth seed and have played quality hockey on both ends of the ice to move within one victory of the Conference Finals.
Having that chip-on-the-shoulder, underdog mentality can lose its novelty, though. Dallas got blitzed by Colorado 5-0 in the first period of Monday's 6-3 loss, to cite a most recent example.
New York has a big lead, and if the Flyers at all emulate how they played after the All-Star break — when they averaged 3.89 goals across 19 games — beginning on Tuesday, they have the means to mount a rally. The difference with the Isles here, of course, is Varlamov being fresh, with a margin for error and a 9-2 playoff record to draw confidence from.
The Flyers offense is stuck in neutral, and they're facing the postseason's top goalie in Varlamov. It stands to reason Philly will be aggressive as ever to keep its playoff run alive, but that could come at defensive cost, so with those factors in mind, bets should trend to the Over goal total.
Pennsylvania is coming on to the sports betting scene, but New Jersey is leading the industry's charge, and is near enough to New York to have plenty of Islanders faithful interested in betting — potentially hopping the Hudson River to do so.
Taking geography and recent on-ice performance into account, the Isles' spread and moneyline should comprise the majority of wagers.
Note: Odds current as of 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 1.
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