Long Island connected on the counter punch.
After a demoralizing overtime loss on Thursday, the New York Islanders rebounded to take Game 3, 3-1, to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers and take a 2-1 series lead on Saturday night.
As they have done so often this postseason, the Islanders came from behind, overturning an early 1-0 deficit that came after they were dominated by the Flyers in early proceedings — and it needed a spark from its lowest lines to do so.
Goals came from the fourth and third lines in Matt Martin and Leo Komarov during the second period before Anders Lee provided the cushion in the third period to regain momentum for New York.
But the Flyers seemed to feed off their momentum from Philippe Myers’ overtime-winner two days ago. For a second-straight game, the Islanders were ransacked during the first period and found themselves playing from behind.
Tyler Pitlick’s wheeling wrister found its way through traffic and past an unknowing Varlamov with 5:42 left in the frame to give Philadelphia its well-deserved lead.
As is customary between the proverbial chess match between two very good coaches, Trotz made the necessary adjustments for the Islanders to come out flying in the second period. Just over seven minutes into the period, an aggressive Mathew Barzal forecheck won the puck behind the Flyers’ net where he sent a feed right in front to a wide-open Martin.
While he didn’t get all of it, the fourth-liner got just enough as his one-timer at point-blank range squeaked through Hart to tie things up.
With just five seconds remaining in the frame that they dominated — outshooting Philadelphia 15-6 in the 20 minutes — Komarov put the Islanders in front behind the aerial clutchness of Derick Brassard.
As the Flyers tried to loft the puck out of the zone in the final seconds, Brassard — who cracked the lineup in three games — made a leaping catch to keep the Islanders’ possession in the Flyers’ zone. It led to the veteran winger winning the puck behind the net and dishing to Komarov, who snuck a backhander under Hart before just trickling into the net off the post.
They doubled their lead early in the third — just 3:41 in — thanks to their misfiring power play putting together a rare gem.
Lee scored his sixth goal of the postseason behind some strong play in front of Hart, accepting a pass from Jordan Eberle, calming the puck, and stuffing a backhander that once again just trickled through Hart.