The Flyers scored the first three goals of the game to take a very misleading lead. The Islanders carried play for most of the time afterward, but Phil Myers won it with a goal in overtime.
Phil to the rescue. Myers scored 2 minutes, 41 seconds into the extra session to even the series as the Delaware Valley exhaled. His shot deflected off Anders Lee, who otherwise was a monster in this game.
Oh no. Jean-Gabriel Pageau sent the game to overtime when Travis Sanheim failed what should have been an easy clear of the defensive zone with a little over 2 minutes remaining. Adam Pelech kept it in, and Pageau fired it past Carter Hart.
What’s next? They’re right back at it for Game 3 on Thursday (7 p.m., NBCSN). With no travel, the players appreciate the tight schedule. As New York’s Leo Komorov said the other day, it beats sitting around in the hotel.
What a difference. In NHL seven-game series, teams down 0-2 have won 13.5% of the series. Teams that win Game 2 to tie the series have won 51.7%. Gotta take home-ice out of the equation, but it’s still a stark margin.
Our three stars. Phil Myers, Kevin Hayes, Anthony Beauvillier. The official three stars were Hayes, Myers, Beauvillier.
Flashbacks. Flyers coach Alain Vigneault rolled the dice and challenged the Pageau goal, contending the Islanders were offsides. No dice, said the refs. The goal was upheld, and the Islanders went on the power play. The price for losing a challenge is a delay of game penalty. The Flyers killed the penalty as fans fought off the memory of Leon Stickle’s missed call 40 years ago. Afterward, Vigneault took the blame for the unsuccessful challenge and lauded the linesman for getting it right.
Huge Hayes. Kevin Hayes scored the first two goals, which allowed the Flyers to exhale a bit. He was 13-1 to score twice and 75-1 to net a hat trick via DraftKings. The director of operations said they had some “small action” on those plays.
Bees were buzzing. The Islanders line of Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier had the Flyers in circles for much of the afternoon. Beauvillier scored his seventh goal of the playoffs midway through the third period to make it 3-2. Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee also had the Flyers in fits.
G as in good start: Two days after saying, “We don’t plan to lose,” Claude Giroux had his best game of the postseason. His tip pass to send Sean Couturier through the neutral zone with speed on Couturier’s goal was especially creative. He also won the faceoff that led to Kevin Hayes’ first goal and had a couple other great passes for excellent chances, and that was just the first period.
Semyon later: Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov, who came in having pitched back-to-back shutouts, set the team playoff record 40 seconds in. About 14 minutes later, he was pulled after the Flyers third goal of the first period. Thomas Greiss came in and made 20 consecutive saves before Myers’ beat him in OT.
He’s the guy. Flyers fans looking for a villain (like Brendan Gallagher last round) probably got one when Ross Johnston gave Carter Hart a little crosscheck to the facemask during a scrum. It wasn’t much of a hit, but considering the recipient and that it was to the mug, Matt Niskanen’s solid check on Johnston later in the game was an admirable response. Pitlick drilled Johnston a little later.
This and that. Johnston, who had 10 hits in Game 1, had four in Game 2. The Flyers Robert Hagg and the Isles’ Matt Martin tied for the game-high with five hits. Anders Lee scored for the second consecutive game. He had eight shots on goal and hit the post late in the third period just before Pageau tied it. ... Here’s the Barry Trotz difference. In 2017-18, Lee had a career-high 40 goals and was a career-worst -25. In the last two years combined, Lee has 48 goals and is +28. second-period goal looked like Tim Kerr.
Details, details. Exiting the defensive zone was a big problem for the Flyers in Game 1. (And for the Capitals in the first round.) It also contributed to the Pageau goal that tied it up.
Point, counterpoint. NBC analyst Brian Boucher detailed an excellent breakout by Nic Aube-Kubel and Ivan Provorov late in the first period. “Yeah, perfectly executed until he [Aube-Kubel] didn’t get the red line and iced it,” colleague Keith Jones countered. “Now you’re forced back in your own for a defensive zone faceoff late in the period.” Sure enough, the Islanders won the draw cleanly and got a good scoring chance.
One more. The Flyers got a couple good scoring chances early in the second when Tyler Pitlick finished a hit on Andy Greene. Pitlick’s pressure forced an Greene into an icing, which the Flyers turned into scoring chances by winning the subsequent faceoff.
The last word. “We shouldn’t have went to OT. We should have been able to close it out. ... On that third goal, I have to find a way to get that puck out, and it’s probably game over. But I like the way we responded after the third [period]. It’s kind of the way our team has done all year. We refocused and came out strong to start the OT. That’s the response we needed.” -- Sean Couturier, who made a key play to get the puck to Phil Myers for the game-winning goal.