The New York Islanders took a 3-2 series lead and won their first Game 5 in nearly 30 years thanks to Alan Quine's double-overtime power play goal, which followed an overtime penalty shot save by Thomas Greiss, who stopped 47 shots.
The goal came on the Islanders' second power play of overtime, and with their second unit on to clean up what remained. It was their fifth power play goal of the series, after going scoreless with the man advantage cost them in last season's first-round playoff loss.
It came with just four minutes left to play in the second overtime frame, and served as the latest development for Quine, a sixth-round redraft who played the entire season in the AHL before getting a callup during the final weekend of the season.
Game 6 will be Sunday in New York at 7 pm, per the NHL.
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With Ryan Pulock out and the Isles wanting to "change it up" at forward, there were new combos: Marek Zidlicky dressed and paired with Thomas Hickey, while Calvin de Haan went back with Johnny Boychuk. One thing Zidlicky accomplished was some needed punishing hits on the Panthers, who really stepped up their viciousness in this one.
Up front, Ryan Strome was a healthy scratch, and Steve Bernier took his place. But they slid Frans Nielsen back to center and moved Quine from center up to replace Nielsen's former spot at first-line left wing.
But no matter what combos they had, the Isles had no answer for the Huberdeau-Barkov-Jagr line, who had their way in the Isles zone all night.
First 40 Minutes: Score Early and Pray
The first period was the Isles' best first period of the series. That's not saying all that much, but it was a refreshing improvement from the passive and careful starts they've had in the first four games. Shots were close, 11-10 Isles, aided by a couple of unsuccessful power plays.
That was rewarded with the period's only goal, a Frans Nielsen rebound goal after Thomas Hickey finished his own smooth breakout with a shot from the slot that itself was a rebound of Nielsen's initial shot.
The second period was much messier, requiring much more from Thomas Greiss, including:
- Jagr's first frightening rush of the series, where he led the entry, bought space by cutting across the slot and created multiple rebounds
- a three-on-one rush by the Panthes' fourth line
- I don't know how many cross-slot opportunities
Luongo's most Greiss-ian moment came on a triple save in tight on Brock Nelson, set up by Steve Bernier. It was good work by the Panthers goalie, on a chance that would've made it 2-0 against the run of play.
The Islanders received their third power play of the game -- Florida had none to that point -- on a Panthers too many men on the ice call. They weren't able to generate much with it, and John Tavares negated the second half of it when his rather routine slash on Jussi Jokinen was whistled in the corner. Not clear if it was going to be called before Jokinen milked it like he was shot in the gut as he fell to the ice.
Cal Clutterbuck looked like he was trying to do the same toward the end of the power play, but upon further review he really did take a trailing Jagr shoulder to the noggin as the two crossed while looking in opposite directions at center ice. No call, possibly rightly so, even though it stung. (And it definitely wasn't a dive. Clutterbuck didn't return until midway through the third period.)
The still frame looks brutal, but in live action it was tough to argue Jagr even knew they were going to collide:
Not saying there was intent but this was point of contact. Shoulder meet jaw. pic.twitter.com/w0s7c3wQ4f— connor (@ConIsles) April 23, 2016
But anyway: Tavares' penalty brought about a minute of four-on-four, and the Islanders did that annoying thing where they waste the four-on-four by treating it like they're already on the penalty kill. Really great approach, playing passive and allowing the opposition to build momentum that only grows once they get their fifth skater back.
Whatever. Greiss was there. The Isles survived it to get to the second intermission still leading 2-0. They were outshot 14-5 in the period.
Third Period: Well that was inevitable
They only survived 1:59 into the third, and it took a really good play to finally beat Greiss.
Mark Zidlicky stopped Jonathan Huberdeau in his tracks and pancaked him, but he couldn't recover the puck before Jagr swooped in to keep sustained pressure alive. The Panthers made more nifty moves near the blueline to shake the Isles defense, and Alex Petrovic made a great pass through traffic to find Aleksander Barkov at the back door, eluding John Tavares and tapping the puck into the net.
The Isles challenged for offside on the play, and why not. Way back before the Panthers kept the puck in the zone with lots of good hockey, there was a potential technicality where Vincent Trochek's toe might have lifted off the ice as he dragged it to stay on side while Brian Campbell carried the puck in.
NBC's Pierre McGuire was full of his typical absolute certainty that it was offside, though I've no idea why, other than just to sound really authoritative: You couldn't tell there wasn't contact with the ice, and in any case cutting it that fine when you have no actual idea is really against the spirit (and purpose) of the rule.
The call on the ice stood, rightly so.
Then the carnage really started to add up. Erik Gudbranson meant every bit of his high leaping hit on Nielsen to briefly send the Isles center to the locker room. (He'd return in a few minutes.) Travis Hamonic took an awkward hit in the corner from Garrett Wilson to send him struggling off. (He too would return.) Clutterbuck also came back during this phase mid-period.
But the Isles were in disarray, and needed more Greiss saves and one Tavares goal-saver to keep the score tied at the second TV timeout.
And so it continued. After 60 minutes shots were 30-24 for the Panthers, but scoring chances by one count (war-on-ice) were 27-15.
This is fine.
The most insane moment of overtime -- well, of the game and the series, really -- came when Calvin de Haan caught an airborne puck atop the crease and threw it away. That's a no-no, an automatic penalty shot. Just about no one in the building caught it except the referee who made an immediate call and went right to center ice to make the call.
The Panthers chose Barkov for the penalty shot -- the third playoff overtime penalty shot in NHL history -- and Griess waited out his backhand deke all the way to keep the game going. And yet it was far from the best save by Greiss, who was poised and zen-like all night in saving the Isles' bacon during repeated Panthers top-line attacks.
The second-most insane moment of overtime was when the Isles smelled blood with a turnover high in the zone, sent a shot from the point, and then attacked Roberto Luongo like a swarm of piranhas around the crease, everyone poking and jabbing as about eight bodies convened while the puck somehow neither went in nor disappeared under the pile of bodies. Naturally, that sequence couldn't end with a freeze to catch your breath; there had to be a Florida counterattack first.
Other chances included Casey Cizikas' impressive end-around the Panthers defense where he lost the handle on it at the top of the crease, and a diving Quine stab that went just wide.
By the 14 minute mark or so things had slowed into a very careful chess match, with quick, conservative changes the rule over taking any risks to pursue scoring chances.
Like clockwork, the two teams started their fourth lines, although this time the Panthers used the last change to do a double switch and put the Barkov line out to start the second overtime period. They promptly iced it and wasted that advantage.
The first notable event of the period was Nick Bjugstad taking a scary header into the boards. He was battling with Shane Prince on the play, which led the crowd to think a great offense had gone uncalled, but Bjugstad clearly just toe-picked at the most dangerous part of the ice. His head hit the top of the boards, and there was a long delay as he was tended to, with lots of blood on his forehead.
The second one came as the Isles changed to get their first line out against a tired Panthers first line. Tavares won a turnover to start a rush up ice, and on his cut across to the slot he was tripped by Jagr for an Isles power play.
The Isles did next to nothing with that power play, though they registered four shots, before the top unit switched off for Quine's heroics. Tavares had a half-chance when he took Godbranson outside down the left wing, but with little space to find a hole in Luongo. Zidlicky had a hard shot from the point that hit a leg and didn't reach Luongo.
Zidlicky was still on the ice for the game-winner, and he assisted Quine after his own shot was stopped.
The series now shifts back to Brooklyn, where the Isles can close it out at home, but would you bet on it?
Not unless they make it to overtime.
Isles bench celebrate OT winner pic.twitter.com/iVkBQ8DO8v— Stephanie (@myregularface) April 23, 2016