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Islanders 4*, Flyers 3 (*SO): Call it a comeback

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Just as it seemed the point streak was doomed by bad luck, fortunes shifted.

New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers
I love this team so so much.
Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The Islanders entered tonight’s contest against the Flyers riding a thirteen-game point streak. For a while, it looked like the breaks just weren’t falling New York’s way and the point streak was going to end.

But their resiliency showed and they stole two points from the Flyers after entering the third period down 3-0.

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First Period: Hmmm, Nope!

Only a minute and a half of the game had passed when a Johnny Boychuk turnover in the neutral zone was scooped up by Oskar Lindblom. Lindblom fed Sean Couturier on a two-on-one and snapped it past Thomas Greiss to take an early 1-0 lead.

The Islanders didn’t allow another Flyer shot for a little while. But, despite their flurry of offense, they couldn’t get one past Brian Elliott. A Philadelphia power play gave the Flyers the control of the game, even though they didn’t score. They blitzed the Islanders and had them chasing quite a bit.

The Flyers got another power play at the end of the period, converting with just over twenty seconds remaining. Ivan Provorov ripped a slap shot from just inside the blueline right up the middle through a traffic jam and it got past Greiss.

Second Period: Might It Just Be One of Those Nights?

The second was much better for the Islanders. The Flyers sort of sat back and let the Islanders take it to them. New York earned two power plays in the process, and had some excellent chances robbed by Elliott. The play where Brock Nelson had plenty of space and time and Elliott got in the way of his one-timer sticks out.

What really stung, though, was Lindblom’s goal midway through the period. It was another neutral zone turnover that was recovered by Joel Farabee and converted by Lindblom following a short two-on-one. A shot from the top of the circle tipped off Greiss’s glove and it was definitely would like to have back.

But to reinforce that it could just be one of those nights, the Islanders wound up on a four-on-one thanks to a bad Philadelphia change—that probably could have been a too many men penalty—and some pretty passing between Michael Dal Colle, Adam Pelech, and Casey Cizikas did not result in a goal because Cizikas rang it off the post.

Third Period: No, It Was Not One of Those Nights!

The Islanders continued to pressure early in the third after Barry Trotz broke out the line blender, albeit not as strongly, and it seemed like that was it. But they finally broke through eight minutes in. Another bad Flyers change made it possible for Derick Brassard to spring Anthony Beauvillier on a breakaway, where he was able to slide one under Elliott. You could feel the tension melt away with that one, and they set off to work.

They kept the pressure up and had the weary Flyers scrambling, and in their dissolution had another bad change that gave the Islanders a power play. As time was winding down on the man advantage, the Islanders converted on one of their set plays where they send it from the blue line to the bottom of the face-off dot on the same side of the ice, then right into the slot for a one-timer. It went Brassard to Brock Nelson to Mathew Barzal for the emphatic tally. Six minutes remained.

The Islanders were really buzzing now and had Elliott drifting all over the ice. They persisted in the offensive zone before finally, Beauvillier got an opportunity as he cruised across the middle of the zone and forced a backhand past a frustrated Elliott and the Islanders had completed the comeback to send the game to overtime. The point streak lived.

Overtime & Shootout

The Islanders had some decent control in three-on-three overtime, playing their game where the hold on to the puck and prevent their opponent from making the long change. But they were unable to get too many shots off and the game went to the shootout.

The Islanders went first, and Jordan Eberle went five-hole on Elliott. Couturier was stopped on a floater by Greiss. Barzal took his stick around the world and also went five-hole, audibly angering Elliott. Greiss poke-checked Claude Giroux and the Islanders stole the two points in two rounds.

Thoughts

Well, what can you say? It wasn’t the best start, but by the second period the Islanders had taken over the game and it just didn’t look like they were going to get the breaks tonight. And then they did! I love it.

Beauvillier has been excellent this season and it’s good to see the shots finally dropping again for him. His chemistry with Brassard (and Brassard’s chemistry with Nelson and the power play, for that matter) have been spectacular.

Barzal came through, as well, and as per usual. He’s on his way to being a superstar. Love his emotion on his goal, too.

  • Greiss started out a little rough, but stoned the Flyers through the third period and into the extra time. He came through when they needed him to.
  • Otto Koivula made his NHL debut and after a “shy” first period, as Trotz described it, he got more comfortable through the final forty minutes of regulation. Trotz sat him down and had a talk with him and was beaming about Koivula’s smile after his first shift in the second period in the post-game walk-off interview with Shannon Hogan.

Up Next

The Islanders will try to continue their point streak on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. They’ll play a home-and-home with the Penguins, going back to Barclays Center on Thursday.