Just like the islanders, the Philadelphia Flyers had recovered from every defeat this postseason with a win.
That ended on Sunday evening.
The Islanders were a third-period team in the postseason, and that continued as they scored two goals in the last 20 minutes to take a 3-2 win and 3-1 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Sunday night. To get ahead of the flyers.
After a lackluster second period in which they managed to score a goal with just three shots before the Flyers even finished with 1-1, the islanders again put a deadly end behind the goals of Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brock Nelson’s second Hit day.
On his first official start to the postseason, Thomas Greiss turned down 35 of the 37 shots he had, as the islanders are now one win away from their first Eastern Conference appearance since 1993.
The islanders opened the first with a few sales that created early opportunities for the Flyers. It apparently woke up the islanders as they suddenly went into high gear and battled Philadelphia’s early 7-0 lead on attempts by ending the period 18-7 in shots.
Mathew Barzal hummed during the first lap, starting a dangerous chance for Jordan Eberle in the neutral zone with a leading pass Eberle put into the net before Brian Elliott made the stop in just over five minutes.
A long shift for the islanders in the Flyers Zone ended with Barzal drawing a late penalty and a very brief 6v5 chance before Elliott hit the puck. It was Barzal’s sixth penalty this postseason that linked Adam Pelech and Anders Lee to lead the team. The Islands scored five direct shots just before man advantage before Elliott developed a glove for a Barzal one-timer to give his penalty session a much-needed respite.
Elliott had to make a total of nine parades during the islands’ first power game.
Eberle registered the Islanders’ first chance at second with a quick turnaround shot 1½ minutes into the middle frame, but Elliott swallowed it to keep him goalless. Joel Farabee responded for the Flyers with a shot around Ryan Pulock, which reached Greiss, who abandoned the ricochet before quickly covering it up. Travis Sanheim then hit the post before the puck slipped right under Greiss.
After the Flyers failed to remove the puck from their zone twice, Josh Bailey found Brock Nelson for the top ship to lift the Islanders 1-0 at 6:52 a.m. Bailey’s assist was his 10th postseason, the biggest by an Islander since Derek King had 11 playoffs in 1992-93.
But from there, the flyers were all over the islanders on all ends of the ice.
With just under five minutes in the middle frame, Sean Couturier deflected a hard shot from the front to end the game 1-1. Philadelphia’s score was the first goal the islands scored in their last five games in the second or third period.
Greiss then came up with a big glove on Claude Giroux, who is still looking for his first goal of the postseason, with 2:35 before the second break. When the seconds on the clock ran out, Greiss scored two saves against James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek.
The Flyers left the Islanders 17: 3 in the second game and recorded the last 12 shots.
Both teams exchanged good chances for the third start, with Eberle only narrowly missing when the network crashed. Shortly afterwards, Pelech struck iron. In the rush, Scott Mayfield sent a crisp pass to a crash pageau that slammed home the 2-1 at 7:18 am in third place.
A duel between Nelson and Bailey ended with Nelson recording his second goal of the night for insurance at 11:12.
The Flyers pulled Elliott two minutes ahead and Ivan Provorov’s long-range shot hit the bottom of the net to score a game with one goal. But the islanders held out after tucking the puck in the corner at the last minute.