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NHL Playoffs 2020: Updated Schedule, Predictions for Remaining 2nd-Round Series

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2020

New York Islanders center Matthew Barzal (13) skates with the puck during the third period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017, in Buffalo, N.Y. New York beat Buffalo 3-1. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

The final berth in the Stanley Cup Playoff conference finals will be handed out Saturday night in Toronto. 

The Philadelphia Flyers will try to win three games in a row against the New York Islanders to set up a matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference final. 

New York appeared to be in control of the series after Game 4, but the Flyers responded to potential elimination with back-to-back wins to force Game 7.

Once the victor is decided Saturday, they will travel to Edmonton, Alberta, where the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final will take place.  

      

Stanley Cup Playoff Schedule

Saturday, September 5

Game 7: New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC)

Game can be live-streamed on NBCSports.com or NBC Sports app. 

        

Prediction

New York Islanders 3, Philadelphia 1

The calling card for the Islanders in their victories in Games 1, 3 and 4 was defense. 

In those triumphs, Barry Trotz's side conceded three goals, all of which came in Games 3 and 4. The Islanders shutout the Flyers in Game 1. 

If the Islanders return to shutdown mode in front of the net, they could quiet a Flyers attack that produced nine tallies in the last two contests. 

Even though they conceded at a high rate in the last two games, the Islanders have still been the better defensive side of the two.

In Game 6, New York held Philadelphia to 31 shots in five periods. The Islanders offense came close to doubling that total with 52 shots on goal. 

If New York continues to hold the Flyers to a small number of shots and closes down on potential scoring chances, the Flyers may have trouble finding the back of the net. 

Philadelphia forward Kevin Hayes was simple with his assessment of who will have the advantage in Game 7, per NHL.com's Brian Compton.

"They play a very systematic game. It's Game 7, both teams know exactly how each other plays and whoever sticks to their system the most will have the best opportunity to win," Hayes said. 

Hayes is one of the few veteran forwards who helped the Flyers stave off elimination in Games 5 and 6. He had two goals and an assist in that span. Claude Giroux recorded two goals and an assist after earning one point in the first four contests. 

If the players with Game 7 experience on the Flyers roster take charge in the offensive zone, they could unlock New York's defense and take an early advantage. 

The key to victory could also be something as simple as scoring first. In two of their three series wins, the Islanders scored the first goal. 

Mat Barzal may be the key to New York getting ahead early and controlling a majority of the quality scoring opportunities. 

Barzal owns two goals and two assists in the final games of playoff series and produced a goal and an assist when the Islanders completed their sweep of Florida in the opening round.

            

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Hockey Reference

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