Based on their history, the odds are still daunting for the Flyers to climb out of a massive hole and win this Eastern Conference semifinal series against the New York Islanders.
But the odds are improving, and if they can force a Game 7 ...
Thanks to Scott Laughton’s overtime goal Tuesday, the Flyers stayed alive in the conference semifinals, outlasting the Islanders, 4-3, and cutting New York’s series lead to three games to two.
Game 6 is Thursday night at 7.
In their history, the Flyers are 1-17 (5.6%) in a series that they trailed, three games to one, and 3-17 (15%) when they have lost three of the first five games. But they are 9-7 (56.3%) in series that are tied at 3-3.
“Obviously they want to close it out, and obviously we don’t want to allow that to happen,” center Kevin Hayes, who leads the Flyers with 11 postseason points, said in a Zoom call Wednesday from Toronto.
“Game 6 and Game 7′s, they’re exciting games to be part of. It’s why a lot of guys on this team like to play this game. It’s what we dream of when we’re younger, to kind of be an important player in an important game. I think there is some pressure for both teams. I think it just adds excitement for individuals.”
After sweeping the three round-robin games, the Flyers are 6-5 in the playoffs.
“We came to the bubble and played some good hockey early on,” Hayes said. “Haven’t been at our best since. It’s do-or-die time. Everyone needs to bring their A game, and I think everyone knows that. I think it’s a good time to kind of find momentum and come together as a team.”
Just like they did in Game 2, the Isles scored two goals late in regulation Tuesday to force overtime. The Flyers won both of those games, 4-3.
In the playoffs, New York has outscored its opponents 21-6 in the third period, including 10-2 against the Flyers.
“They play a really strong game,” Laughton said of the Islanders. “A lot of depth at forward. They make it hard on you all night. Obviously, their fourth line is well-known for being physical. They’re just deep down the lineup and have some big D-men that can move the puck. We’ve got to do a better job of closing out those games.”
After allowing two goals late in regulation, including one he’d want back, goalie Carter Hart regrouped and made seven saves in overtime, including Brock Nelson’s breakaway.
“He was exceptional last night. He was Carter Hart last night,” center Nate Thompson said Wednesday. “He made some big saves at key moments. ... He was our backbone, and he has been this whole time. No surprise here.”