NHL on NBCSN: Flyers, Islanders fight for playoff positioning

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Tuesday’s matchup between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

The Flyers and Islanders are both engaged in challenging battles for playoff positioning. On Tuesday, they get to test each other.

Flyers, Islanders among teams stuck in tight playoff races

While the Isles rest in a more comfortable position thanks to games in hand, they cannot take that position for granted. They face serious threats from the likes of the Blue Jackets and Flyers for the Metro’s third spot, and maybe wild-card seeding as well:

Flyers Islanders playoff implications

In the case of the Islanders and Flyers specifically, the Isles’ one-point edge and two games in hand both rank as relevant advantages. Even so, the Flyers could squeeze the Islanders quite a bit if Philly wins in regulation on Tuesday.

Projections at sites like Money Puck give the Islanders (22 percent) a better chance than the Flyers (15.7) to nab that third seed, but the gap could close quickly.

[COVERAGE BEGINS AT 6 P.M. ET ON NBCSN]

Flyers, Islanders hope to continue momentum through key stretches

Each team closes out back-to-back sets with wins against formidable opponents from Monday. The Islanders beat the Capitals in Washington, keeping Alex Ovechkin from the 700 goal plateau. Meanwhile, the Flyers defeated the Panthers 4-1. The Islanders took the first two games between these teams so far this season.

Credit the Flyers with starting a tough set of games on a high note:

Feb. 8: at Washington (7-2 win for Flyers)
Feb. 10: vs. Florida (4-1 win for Flyers)
Feb. 11: at Islanders
Feb. 13: at Florida
Feb. 15: at Tampa Bay
Feb. 18: vs. Columbus
Feb. 20: at Columbus

Philly’s enjoyed an upward trajectory in general lately, managing a promising 9-3-2 record over its last 14 games. James van Riemsdyk believes the Flyers are thriving under pressure, as The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor reports (sub required).

“I don’t think we have guys that get nervous in those situations,” van Riemsdyk said. “I think those games are fun for us to play, and the games you want to be in as a player.”

There had been some troubling signs for the Islanders lately, as they’ve stumbled while working their style of gutting out close games. Perhaps the All-Star break helped them take a breath and turn things around, however.

After dropping five of six (1-3-2) from Jan. 11-19, the Islanders have only failed to gain a standings point once in their last six (4-1-1).

The Islanders follow this significant home game with a four-game trek out West. Long story short, this game is important for both teams.

A hot streak for each team

  • Anthony Beauvillier is playing some of his best hockey lately. He scored two goals to extend a career-high point streak to six games (five goals, three assists). Beauvillier also has 13 points in his last 10 games, and already tied his career-high for points in a season with 36.
  • Sean Couturier enters Tuesday with a feast-or-fame stretch (six points in five games; two with three points, three games with none). Zooming out, the big picture is pretty, including Couturier generating 19 points over his past 16 games.

Brendan Burke and Brian Boucher will call the action at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Kathryn Tappen will anchor studio coverage alongside analysts Patrick Sharp and Ben Lovejoy.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.