In the New York Islanders biggest game to date, Thomas Greiss and company defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 to move within one point of a playoff spot.
The New York Islanders were dominated for most of the first period, and that’s putting it lightly.
Thomas Greiss made a number of flashy saves through the first ten minutes. It felt like the Flyers easily could have had at least two goals but thanks to Greiss the game remained scoreless.
Later in the period Shane Prince took a tripping penalty and the Flyers power play got to work. With 7:53 left in the first, All Star Game MVP Wayne Simmonds connected to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. During the play the net came off its moorings and the refs signaled to Toronto to get another look.
After a four-minute review it was determined the puck crossed the line before the net came off and the Flyers lead stood. It was the 22nd goal of the year for Simmonds.
Later in the period former Islander captain Mark Streit got two minutes for tripping and the Islanders headed to their only power play of the period.
The Islanders were able escape an abysmal period tied at one. Greiss was excellent everybody else simply was not.
For most of the period it felt like the defense was skating in mud. Being outshot 16-7 was not an ideal start to the game but they had a chance to turn things around in the second.
The Islanders came out hot and looked like a different team. Three minutes in the Islanders took advantage of a bad Flyers line change.
Andrew Ladd entered the zone and made a beautiful pass to Jason Chimera right in front of the net. Chimera finished the play putting a backhand behind Mason to give the Isles a 2-1 lead. The off-season acquisition connection coming up big for New York.
Through the first ten minutes of the 2nd the Islanders were outshooting Philadelphia 8-2. It felt like role reversals from the 1st.
The Flyers led in shots 16-8 after the 1st. After almost two full minutes of the Islanders swarming the Flyers zone they suddenly saw themselves with a 19-18 lead in shot but couldn’t find the back the net.
The Islanders and Greiss survived a few good last minute chances by the Flyers to take a 2-1 lead in the 2nd intermission.
Calvin De Hann had an especially good end to the period, making several good blocks to help the Isles hold the lead.
Only one minute into the 3rd, Casey Cizikas went one on one into the offensive zone. He whiffed on his first shot attempt, recollected the puck and then spun and beat Mason to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead.
The Islanders defense continued their strong play in the 3rd, including a penalty kill and more impressive saves by Greiss.
The Islanders held on for the rest of the period to improve to 17-0-4 when leading after two periods.
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The Isles now sit one point behind the Flyers for the final wild card spot with three games in hand. Next up will be the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn.