If this game had gone the other way, we’d all look at it as a classic comeback and maybe one of the greatest games post-dynasty for the Islanders. Instead... we got this trash outcome. The Islanders absolutely stuck it to the Flyers, getting over 50 shots on goal, completely dominating play, and looking like the great team we know they can be. Down two goals early, the Isles were able to take a one goal lead on two separate occasions, with the game 4-3 at the close of the second period. But stupid mistakes and frankly poor play from Semyon Varlamov meant that the Flyers scored on 5 of their 31 shots over 5 periods of play. Just absolute trash. So onto Game 7.
I have to do the recap for this game on LHH and I think I should be able to sue for the therapy I’ll need after— jenny berman (@barzalline) September 4, 2020
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Despite having control of play and a power play early after the Flyers were called for delay of game, it was Kevin Hayes who would score first, giving the Flyers the lead. A terrible clear from Anders Lee barely got the puck out of the zone, setting up a Flyers rush that led to the goal.
Then, Adam Pelech brought the puck into the offensive zone and attempted to pass it off to Josh Bailey. The puck went off Bailey’s skate instead, out of the zone and to James van Riemsdyk, who shot from pretty far out and beat Varlamov. There was no reason for that puck to be in the net and it was the weakest of the goals Varly gave up in the game, but frankly I don’t understand Trotz’s decision not to pull him then. The goals came in quick succession, and Varlamov had been fighting the puck every time it got to him. Just not his night at all.
The Islanders got another power play off Nicolas Aube-Kubel slashing, and just after the PP expired, Derick Brassard scored on a tip off of a Devon Toews shot to put the Islanders within a goal.
Matt Martin tied the game just under two minutes into the second - this game was the best that the Best Fourth Line in Hockey has looked all series and they were rewarded for it with the Martin goal. Alain Vigneault challenged the play for goaltender interference, but because Casey Cizikas was tripped into the net by a Flyer, he lost the challenge and the Islanders were on the power play again.
A great play between Jordan Eberle, Mat Barzal, and Anders Lee ended in a goal for Lee. Barzal took a shot that bounced off the pads of Carter Hart directly to Lee, who shot it past Hart to give the Islanders their first lead of the game.
The Flyers would tie the game 10 minutes later when Brock Nelson failing to clear the puck led to a shot that Michael Raffl picked up the rebound on, and Varlamov never saw it.
Barzal then ended the period on a high note on an amazing shift where he danced around the offensive zone and eventually ripped the puck past Hart to restore the Isles’ one goal lead.
Then, this period. Despite playing a strong game for the majority of this period, a weak tripping call on Cizikas nearly led to the tying goal when Hayes hit the post. The Islanders then got a power play when Hayes slashed Eberle as he was driving to the net. Just as the power play expired, however, Devon Toews failed to keep the puck in at the line, was caught completely flatfooted, and Scott Laughton got in on Varlamov alone and scored to tie the game.
The Isles got another PP with under two minutes left in the period, but couldn’t score on that either despite having chances to do so. Onto overtime.
The Islanders were dominant for the first OT but couldn’t score and also had to kill a couple of penalties along the way, Brassard for slashing and Eberle for delay of game. Travis Sanheim took out Cizikas on a shorthanded breakaway during the Eberle penalty, but the Islanders didn’t convert on the 4 on 4 or the short man advantage they had for the beginning of 2OT.
In the second OT, the Flyers were the more dominant team, getting their share of the opportunities. Despite that pressure though, it seemed like the Islanders were surviving as good shift in the offensive zone brought the puck out to Scott Mayfield, who, because we can’t have nice things, broke his stick just attempting to make a pass. That led to a Flyers rush the other way, which eventually led to Ivan Provorov winning the game. Just... garbage.
- Varlamov’s done a lot for the Isles this postseason, but he’s been inconsistent this series. A shutout and a .963 save percentage in two of the games, but he’s been below average in his other starts. In Greiss’ two outings, he’s had solid over .940% games, including the last game where he was the Islanders’ best player, and I think you’ve got to go with him for Game 7. Varly just doesn’t inspire confidence right now, and the Islanders have lost their margin for error.
- Jordan Eberle had a good game by all the metrics except scoring goals, which we really need from him. At a certain point the pucks will go in, but when he gets cold, he starts to make plays that make absolutely no sense. He also took a delay of game penalty in OT and has been pretty weak on clears at multiple points in this series. He is unfortunately not good enough defensively to make up for not being able to put the puck in offensively, and at some point you just have to get the pucks on net. He’s constantly shooting wide or high. He has less goals in the playoffs than Matt Martin, who by Martin’s own standards has been great, but that’s a pretty low bar that a first line winger playing with guys who have combined for 12 goals themselves in Lee and Barzal.
Next, winner takes all in Game 7 at 7:30pm on Saturday. Don’t take stupid penalties and win the game in regulation. Please.