By Ben Sullivan
The Flyers take on the Islanders tonight in game 1 of their second round series.
Season series: PHI: 0-2-1; NYI: 3-0-0
Game 1 is Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN)
The Flyers won a playoff series for the first time since 2012 despite being outscored 13-11 in their six-game win against the Montreal Canadiens.
They got timely goals, strong defensive work and outstanding goaltending by Carter Hart, who had a .936 save percentage and two shutouts in the series.
In Game 6, the Flyers were outshot 33-17 but scored two goals in the first period, including one 28 seconds into the game, and used a strong defensive effort in the third period to close the series.
“I thought it was a good team effort,” forward Kevin Hayes said. “It’s tough to win four games in this series. That was our ultimate goal, and we did. I don’t think we care how we do it.”
The Isles took a 3-0 series lead against the Washington Capitals, and after losing Game 4, they got 21 saves from Semyon Varlamov in a 4-0 win in Game 5.
New York allowed eight goals against Washington, three at 5-on-5.
The Flyers are expected to have their full complement of defensemen back after Matt Niskanen was suspended for Game 6 for cross-checking Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher in the head during the third period of Game 5.
“It’s obviously a team that’s playing really good hockey right now. They earned that No. 1 spot in the play-in round and had a pretty good series,” Islanders forward Anders Lee said. “Another tough matchup for us, another tough task at hand.”
The Islanders won all three games against the Flyers during the regular season, with Varlamov starting two and going 2-0-0 with a .913 save percentage. Forward Mathew Barzal scored five points (two goals, three assists) in three games, including three assists in a 5-3 win on Feb. 11.
“They played us very well all year,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said. “I’ve been watching a lot of games here, watching as many games as we can, and they’ve played as well as any team in our bubble here in Toronto. They found their game very quickly, they play with purpose and structure and identity. They have some skill up front, three lines that can score. They’re really a good hockey team.”
It’s the first time the Flyers and Islanders are meeting in the playoffs since the 1987 Patrick Division Finals.
Jakub Voracek led the Flyers against the Canadiens with seven points (four goals, three assists) in six games. He played well enough to reclaim his spot at right wing on the top line after starting the series at left wing on the third line. Voracek has 33 points (six goals, 27 assists) in 42 games against the Islanders.
Forward Anthony Beauvillier scored two goals in the series-clinching 4-0 win against the Capitals in Game 5. He has nine points (six goals, three assists) in nine games this postseason.