When it came to the 2019-20 regular season, the New York Islanders got the better of the Philadelphia Flyers. Does that mean that the Isles have any sort of edge heading into their Second Round series with the Flyers?
Asked about that very idea, Islanders coach Barry Trotz quickly shot it down on Saturday.
“It has no bearing on where we are right now,” Trotz said. “Where the teams are right now is how they’re playing. It seems like it’s years ago since we played them. We played them pretty early in the season last year and just feels like forever (ago). I don’t think it has any bearing at all. There are two pretty good teams that are going to square off.”
It was early in the year when the Flyers and Islanders face one another. The Islanders went 3-0-0 in the season series, with wins at Nassau Coliseum, Barclays Center and the Wells Fargo Center.
The most impressive of the three wins was on Nov. 16 in Philadelphia where the Islanders rallied back from a 3-0 deficit and won the game 4-3 in the shootout.
Lee, Nelson, Brassard and Mayfield addressed the media after today’s practice.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) August 22, 2020
Things have certainly changed since then, even with their last meeting coming on Feb. 11 in Brooklyn.
The Flyers and Islanders were going in different directions before COVID-19 halted the season in March. The Islanders, dealing with injuries to crucial players, saw their position in the Metropolitan Division slipping. The Flyers were trending upwards.
After dropping their first three games to start the new calendar year, the Flyers went 19-6-1 from Jan. 8 up until the season halted. And their play has only gotten better through the postseason.
“They’re obviously a team that’s playing really good hockey right now,” Anders Lee said. “They earned the number one spot in the (round-robin) and then had a pretty good series. Another tough matchup for us. Another tough task at hand. … I think both teams are in different places in their play.”
When the series kicks off on Monday it will be the second time this postseason and fourth time in the playoffs over the last two seasons the New York Islanders will face a divisional opponent. The Islanders faced Pittsburgh and Carolina in the playoffs last year.
In addition, the Islanders will see a very familiar face behind the bench in Alain Vigneault, who coached the New York Rangers for five seasons. Trotz and Vigneault have faced each other as coaches plenty of times over the years, and Derick Brassard knows how he coaches from his three years as a member of the Rangers.
“I have nothing but good things to say about AV. He’s a good coach,” Brassard said. “His team is going to be ready to go. It’s going to be a big series against us. It should be fun for the fans out there and I’m expecting AV to prepare his team really well like he did all season long.”