Despite another blown lead in the the third period, Scott Laughton came in clutch with the overtime goal to keep the Flyers alive.
Win and continue or lose and go home. That is what the Flyers faced in Tuesday night’s Game Five. The Islanders were up 3-1 in the series and were poised to move on. Philadelphia wasn’t ready to let that happen just yet, though.
As they had been the previous two games, the Flyers came out looking like the hungrier team. That was to be expected for a team looking to stave off elimination. They would out-shoot the Islanders 11-4 in the first period.
And despite coming into the game with the same lineup as before, Alain Vigneault did make a line swap during the period. Tyler Pitlick, who has been one of the best forwards recently, was moved up to the second line. That put Travis Konecny down to the third.
They were unable to break through Semyon Varlamov, though. It helped that the players in front of him were able to block a significant amount of shots.
It was the Islanders who broke through Carter Hart on the power play in the second. After a battle in front there were a few players in the crease. Josh Bailey came from behind the net and somehow found the open space.
The Flyers challenged for goaltender interference as Mathew Barzal did make contact with Hart. The problem? Pitlick initiated it. There was thought that Barzal took his time coming out, but it was deemed a good goal after review.
An unsuccessful challenge put the Flyers right back on the penalty kill. But they were able to kill off what could’ve been a back breaker in the second. The Flyers made sure to answer.
And it was their captain who finally broke through with his first goal of the playoffs. A Philippe Myers shot from the point was tipped off the stick of Claude Giroux. And what a huge goal that was for him.
He wasn’t the only one to score a big goal. Less than three minutes later, James van Riemsdyk scored his first of the postseason. Off the odd man rush, van Riemsdyk one-timed the pass from Scott Laughton.
It was one of the few times the Islanders trailed heading into the third. One more Flyers’ player grabbed his first goal as Matt Niskanen gave the team some more insurance about four and a half minutes into the third. It was a boost for Niskanen as he had been struggling during the postseason.
But in what has been an unfortunate storyline, the Islanders came storming back. Brock Nelson one-timed a pass from Bailey with under four minutes to go. It was a shot that Hart probably should’ve had. He just missed it with the glove. He had less of a chance on Derick Brassard’s tying goal, though.
Cal Clutterbuck sent a no-look pass from behind the net to Brassard who had nothing but open net to shoot at. It was a huge blow to the Flyers as they were less than three minutes away from winning.
So we had a little overtime in this one. The Islanders controlled most of the play, outshooting Philadelphia 7-4. But it was the fourth shot that mattered most.
Ivan Provorov blasted one from the point that was tipped of the stick of Laughton. It was the second overtime win for the Flyers in this series. And they live to see another day.
They’ll have to do it all over again when they hit the ice for Game Six on Thursday night. But for now, they have this one to celebrate.