Philippe Myers’ deflected slapper beat Thomas Greiss and the New York Islanders in overtime 4-3 on Wednesday afternoon as the Philadelphia Flyers took Game 2 of the second-round playoff series to tie things up at one game apiece.
Philadelphia’s hero salvaged a game in which the Flyers blew a 3-0 first-period lead as the Islanders scored three unanswered in regulation to force the extra period. The final two of regulation tallies came within 6:40 in the third period — J.G. Pageau’s wrister with 2:09 left in the third period answering Anthony Beauvillier’s lifeline just moments earlier.
“Let it go,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said after the game. “Understand how you can be better. That’s the No. 1 thing. You can’t get the game that just happened, you have to get the next one.”
“The playoffs are kind of like a goalie. When you let one in, you have to focus on the next save. Tomorrow, the next save is Game 3 so we’ll have to focus on that.”
It was quite a turn of events after the Islanders originally looked like they’d be run out of Scotiabank Arena in Toronto early on.
The Flyers took the lead on their very first shot of the game when Kevin Hayes snapped a wrister over the shoulder of Semyon Varlamov.
The goal ended Varlamov’s franchise-record shutout streak at 138:17, which he set just moments earlier after two-consecutive shutouts dating back to Game 5 of the first round against the Washington Capitals.
Less than eight minutes later, Hayes got his second when he snuck a wrister under the arm of Varlamov short side off the rush that originated from a Jordan Eberle turnover in the Flyers’ zone.
It was the first time all postseason that the Islanders allowed two even-strength goals in one period.
“”The first seven minutes I thought we played pretty good, they just capitalized on a mistake here, a little bit of our detail, we gave up too many odd-man rushes,” Trotz said. “We guessed, I guessed… in some of our decisions and they were poor.”
The Islanders’ deficit grew to three with 4:49 left in the period when Sean Couturier bodied Nick Leddy one-on-one while powering to the net and deking around Varlamov for the goal. That was all for the Islanders’ once-unbeatable netminder as Thomas Greiss was called in for his first action of the postseason.
“I was looking for a spark,” Trotz said. “I thought we didn’t help [Varlamov] enough… I was just looking for something a little different. Not his fault, we didn’t give him enough support.”
The backup goalie stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced in relief in his first meaningful appearance in over five months.
“I thought he was solid. He made a couple of key saves for us,” Trotz said. “He looked very comfortable which is a great sign. That’s a positive for his attitude and his work ethic within our goaltending department.”
“I felt pretty good,” Greiss added. “Our goalie coaches did a good job keeping me sharp and keeping me going at practice. It wasn’t bad.”
New York finally picked up its game midway through the second on the power play when Anders Lee tipped home Mathew Barzal’s bullet of a centering pass right in front of Hart with 8:15 left in the frame.
Down two, the Islanders shifted its focus to more of an attacking game while keeping its organization, and it paid off.
Beauvillier snuck behind the Flyers defense to sneak one under the arm of Hart with 8:49 left of an on-rushing feed from Josh Bailey to get the Islanders within one.
They kept the pressure up and committed all their forces forward when a Flyers turnover found Pageau wide-open between the dots where he sent a wicked wrister over Hart to tie the game with 2:09 remaining.
“That’s what the playoffs is all about,” Pageau said. “We knew this is going to be a long series and we’re prepared for it. We’ll bounce back and be ready to go tomorrow again.”