The New York Islanders missed out on another chance to finish off the Philadelphia Flyers, losing their third overtime game of the series yesterday by a score of 5-4, with this one ending in double overtime.
The Flyers opened the scoring roughly halfway through the first period, when Kevin Hayes capitalized on a giveaway from Anders Lee. Then under two minutes later, Adam Pelech got caught deep in Philadelphia’s end and James van Riemsdyk blasted a shot right through Semyon Varlamov, to put the Flyers up 2-0. I have to say, Adam Pelech has been getting caught out of position far more this series than we’re used to and I haven’t been overly impressed with him at times in the last stretch of games. The Islanders would get on the board before the end of the period, however, as Devon Toews connected with Derick Brassard on a great pass, which Brassard tipped in to cut the lead in half.
Early in the second period, New York would tie it up, when Cal Clutterbuck found Matt Martin on an odd-man rush and Martin was able to get it through Carter Hart. Then, after yet another blown coach’s challenge from Alain Vigneault, the Islanders got a power play and took advantage, with Anders Lee putting a rebound in off a shot from Mathew Barzal.
The Flyers tied it late in the period, after Varlamov let out a bad rebound on a point shot, which landed right on the stick of Michael Raffl, who tapped it in. To close out the back-and-forth period, however, Brassard caused a turnover and Barzal managed to beat Hart on the short side with about 30 seconds to go, to get the lead back for the Islanders.
In the third period, Devon Toews lost control of the puck, which led to a breakaway for Scott Laughton, who fooled Varlamov and tied the game for the Flyers once again. That’s how regulation would end, despite the Islanders completely outplaying Philadelphia up to that point, outshooting them 41-17 after the third period.
The Islanders had some really good chances to end it in overtime but Hart held strong for the Flyers, extending the game to double overtime. There, however, Philadelphia got the bulk of quality chances and after a few close calls, Ivan Provorov ended the game with a shot from the top of the circle.
This was a game the Islanders should have won. They were the better team for pretty much the entire game, aside from double overtime but Carter Hart made saves when he needed to for the Flyers. That’s a game where Semyon Varlamov needed to come up big and he didn’t, while Hart was a difference-maker at the other end, making key save on the likes of Mathew Barzal, Casey Cizikas and Jordan Eberle. Varlamov obviously can’t fully be blamed for the loss but ultimately, goaltending was a major factor in the game for both sides and played a huge factor in this series going to a Game 7.
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