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Islanders vs. Flyers, 7:00 ET
The NHL wasn’t going on this weekend – well not regular season games at least. They had their All-Star break and I did watch some of it. I was a bit surprised at some of the games because I figured that it wouldn’t be much of a challenge to hit four targets in the four corners of the goal, but I suppose under some pressure and trying to do it fast makes it difficult. Either way, I like that the NHL switches things up to try and make the All-Star Game fun. The Pro Bowl tried and, in my opinion, failed miserably.
The Islanders start the post-All-Star break by visiting the Philadelphia Flyers. These are two very evenly matched teams and they are right next to each other in the division. Brock Nelson leads the Islanders in goals and points, and he also won that shootout that I mentioned. This was his first All-Star appearance, and apparently, it was overdue. I won’t pretend I followed him for his career, but since I’ve been more into hockey, he is clearly someone that captures your attention as you watch games. I imagine we will be getting Ilya Sorokin in the net tonight for the Islanders. His record doesn’t really reflect this as he is just 16-16-4 on the season, but he has the fifth best goals against average in hockey and is tied for second with the most shutouts. He faced Philadelphia once this season and allowed two goals in the game. It was a loss for the Islanders, but now they have a chance to regain a game on them as he gets back in net. He allowed five goals in the All-Star game, but I really don’t put much weight into that. He was really good against the Red Wings in his last outing, but prior to that, he struggled in four consecutive games. He allowed 16 goals over four games.
The Flyers are coming into this game with a losing home record and a very average 21-21-9 record overall for the year. Now they have to try and start the second half on a good note against a tough goalie (even if that goalie has been struggling). I’d have to expect that Carter Hart is going to be in between the pipes for them tonight. Hart has had a solid season, but isn’t anything very special. He has allowed a bit less than three goals per game and is just 15-14-8 on the year. One of his wins came at the hands of the Islanders, though. In that game, he was able to stop 23 of 24 goals. This was the game that Sorokin lost. Hart has been fine lately – he didn’t play in the All-Star game – but he also ended his first half of the season with a shutout.
The line is moving in favor of the Islanders, which does have me nervous (after all, I consider myself a rookie hockey bettor so I’m still learning some of the reasoning and information). But, I have to take the Flyers here. This might be a really close game and I trust Hart and the home team more in this game. I’ll take a shot on them at +110. Back the Flyers.
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