Islanders vs. Flyers: Big win in four point game over Metro rivals

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 11: Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders celebrates his game winning goal at 19:21 of the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Barclays Center on February 11, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Flyers 5-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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.

First Period

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.

A few minutes later Matt Martin put in his second goal in four games on an uncharacteristic give-and-go with Leo Komarov.

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!

Also of note, Casey Cizikas left the period early and did not return to the game.

Second Period

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.

CF%SCF%HDCF%xGF%
First Period54.0578.9585.7473.41
Second Period38.4646.7533.3349.95

 

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.

The Flyers, thanks to Travis Konecny and Robert Hagg, were able to claw their way back into the game and make it 3-2. If not for Semyon Varlamov, the game would have been lost in the second period.

Third Period

It somehow got worse in the third period. It didn't seem possible after that second period, but it did.

CF%SCF%HDCF%xGF%
First Period54.0578.9585.7473.41
Second Period38.4646.7533.3349.95
Third Period38.4623.082532.45

 

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.

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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.