The New York Islanders defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5 - 3 Tuesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it was a doozy as the Islanders were up 3 - 0 at the first intermission but this Flyers team would not give up as goals were scored by Travis Konecny, Robert Haag and Sean Couturier, the comeback was near complete with under 1:30 to go in the third. That was until Ryan Pulock shot a rocket from the blue line that went by Brian Elliott’s blocker side to give the Islanders the lead with 38.9 seconds left. A bizarre incident early in the first as Casey Cizikas was checked by Ivan Provorov that will leave him sidelined for roughly three to four weeks with a leg laceration/lower body injury.
Both goalies would be tested early, Semyon Varlamov came out strong as he made stops on Provorov, Kevin Hayes and Tyler Pitlick twice, Elliott on the other hand, not so good. Provorov gave up the puck to Mathew Barzal who found Josh Bailey wide open to score underneath the pad of Elliott to give the Islanders the early lead. Derick Brassard found Matt Martin all by his lonesome with Leo Komarov, he would make a smooth cross-crease pass back to Martin who scored on an open right side of the net. Things got even worse for the Flyers, Anders Lee found Barzal behind the net who would skate through the defense and take a shot that was stopped by Elliott only for it to rebound right to Jordan Eberle who hit it home for the 3 - 0 Islanders lead.
Things looked bleak for the Flyers as the second period began unsurprisingly in their zone but Elliott came up with stops on Barzal and Lee, he would continue to get better as the game went along but the Flyers still couldn’t get one past Varlamov who made a nice glove save on Phillippe Myers. Scott Laughton made a heads-up pass to James van Riemsdyk who completed a no-look pass to Travis Konecny who beat Varlamov blocker side to break the shutout. In a matter of minutes, Claude Giroux’s shot was stopped but the rebound went right to Hagg for the tip in, Laughton also added an assist for his second point of the game. It looked as if the Islanders were going to blow it in the second but Varlamov and the defense clamped down to hold off the Flyers to finish the second with just a one goal lead.
The Flyers would waste no time to tie it up but Varlamov slammed the door shut on Joel Farabee and Konecny, shortly after, Martin would try to give the Islanders a spark with back to back hits on Laughton and Hagg. A few minutes would go by before Brassard had an opportunity to put his team up by two as the net was partially open but his wrist shot made contact with Elliott’s glove and went wide. With 8:30 to go, Varlomov could be a candidate for “Save of the Year” on Couturier, Jakub Voracek found Konecny alone on the left side of the net but his shot hit the post, it bounced right to Couturier but a sprawled out Varlamov with the Superman save with his blocker. The Flyers would swarm the net like bees with shots by Pitlick and Laughton but Varlamov came up clutch again. The Flyers pulled Elliott with under two minutes left as they would complete the comeback as Provorov found Giroux whose one timer bounced off the boards right to Couturier’s stick to make it three all. You thought it was over for the Islanders? Think again! Eberle found Barzal who would circle the net to find Pulock at the blue line who ripped one blockerside to give the Islanders the lead for good. The final nail on the coffin was delivered when Bailey connected with Komarov for the empty netter giving the Islanders a thrilling 5 - 3 victory.
This game showed a lot for both teams, the New York Islanders coming up big when they need to is a huge reason as to why they are third place, only two behind the Penguins and five behind the Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. If the offense keeps clicking with Varlamov and sidekick, Thomas Greiss, the Islanders will be no slouches come playoff time. At this point, the Philadelphia Flyers are the second wild card team in the Eastern Conference and they will need to play with a different tempo and emotion if they are going up against the likes of the Capitals, the Bruins or the Lightning just to name a few.