New York Islanders take both points in a 5-3 win over divisional rivals the Philadelphia Flyers in what was a four-point game.
Good teams find a way to win. Today, the New York Islanders found a way to get two points against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Isles were the second-best team on the night. If not for a dominant first period from the Isles, the end result would have been wildly different.
With two points, the Islanders close the gap on the Washington Capitals (five points ahead) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (two points ahead). More importantly, they start creating some distance between the three other teams chasing them, like the Flyers.
We talk a lot about must-win games, this was one of them.
Ther Islanders were once again dominant in the first period. After scoring three in the first period against the Capitals yesterday, the Isles put another three goals past the Flyers in the opening frame.
Josh Bailey opened the scoring with his 12th goal of the season and 12th point in eleven games off a great feed from Mathew Barzal. Sure, it took a deflection, but elite players create their own luck.
And the Isles weren't done. Jordan Eberle would make it 3-0 with a Johnny on the spot goal.
By the way, watch the lead up to the Eberle goal closely. At one point Barzal has the puck on his stick as though he's going to do the Lacrosse/Svechnikov goal but cancels that decision at the last second. We now know he can do it.
Where did this offense come from? Before facing the Caps, the Islanders couldn't score to save their lives and now they're out here scoring almost at will. Through their last four periods of play, they had eight goals. Eight!
Through the first period, it didn't look like the Islanders had played the night before. They were crisp and dominant. But in the second period that was very much not the case. It was like watching two very different games.
Watch what happens to some of the advances numbers from the Islanders between the first period and the second period.
Again, it was like watching two very different games. In the first one, the Islanders looked fresh and dominant. They drove play, created chances, and were constantly on the attack. In the second game, the Isles didn't look like they belonged on the same ice.
It somehow got worse in the third period. It didn't seem possible after that second period, but it did.
By the 18:28 mark of the third, Varlamov couldn't keep the gate closed and Sean Couturier scored with the extra attacker on the ice. Tie game.
This game had overtime loss written all over it. As the game progressed, the Islanders faded away. Thankfully, Ryan Pulock decided this needed to end in regulation.
Barzal was able to spot Pulock wide open at the point and fed him with a pass from behind the goal line. Pulock, not one to waste a good opportunity for a slap shot took it. The shot, in all it's magnificent glory screamed to the top corner blocker side on Brian Elliott to make it 4-3 for the Isles.
You know Butch Goring was yelling: "In the toy department, Brendan!" on his couch at home.
Leo Komarov would add an empty-net goal for the 5-3 win.
And just like that, the New York Islanders, who were outplayed for two-thirds of the game, let with all two points in what was a four-point game. They also sweep the season series between the two Metro rivals.