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Islanders take commanding 3-1 series lead off Brock Nelson double

Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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With a 3-2 win, the New York Islanders put themselves in a commanding position with a 3-1 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers.

New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz hinted that changes to the lineup could take place for Game 4. With back-to-back games, giving some of the guys on the team a rest makes sense.

But the one change that Trotz made was the one that nobody expected. Thomas Greiss was getting the start for Game 4 over Semyon Varlamov.

After reliving Varlamov three-quarters of the way through the first period in Game 2, Greiss stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced. Greiss certainly earned the right to start, but with the way Varlamov had played in the series, specifically in his return after getting pulled in Game 2, it was a surprise to see Greiss out there.

At the other end of the ice, the Flyers made the same change by giving Brian Elliott the crease over rookie Carter Hart.

Back Foot

Yet again, the Islanders started the game on the back foot. Again, the Flyers pressed hard right out the gate. The Islanders just can’t seem to start the game with energy in this series but with a (now) 3-1 series lead that’s probably not as big a deal as it seems.

Within seven minutes Philly already had five shots on net with wave after wave of attacks. If not for Thomas Greiss the Flyers certainly find themselves with a first period lead for the third straight game.

This was only Greiss’s second game between the pipes since March 7.

The Flyers push eventually ended and the Islanders eventually found the ice tilt back in Philly’s end. But then it was Brian Elliott’s turn to show off that while he may be a backup, he’s not a slouch. Both goalies finished the period without a goal against and with nine saves apiece at 5on5.

Brock O’Clock

Brock Nelson had a number of chances to get on the score sheet in this series. On two separate occasions, Carter Hart was able to stop Nelson when he had the rookie goalie cleanly beat. On both occasions, Nelson just didn’t get enough elevation to beat the Flyers starter.

Nelson didn’t make the same mistake a third time. With yet

another

open look on the right side, Nelson stuffed a shot in the toy department to put the Islanders on the board first.

Anyone will tell you that turtling with a 1-0 lead with 33 minutes to play is not a good idea. But after that Nelson goal, the Islanders just went to sleep. The Flyers were constantly able to set up a cycle in the Islanders end as a result.

Eventually, the ‘visiting’ Flyers would find the back of the net off a nice re-directed puck by Sean Couturier.

The Flyers would finish the second period with a 17-3 shot advantage. Again, just like in the first period, if not for Thomas Greiss, the Islanders are certainly behind on the score sheet.

Beau Knows (Again)

When the Islanders sent the Ottawa Senators a 2020 first (lottery protected), a 2020 second, and a conditional 2022 third for Jean-Gabriel Pageau, it was repeatedly stated that the Islanders paid too much.

Pageau was having a career year with the Sens and would never hit the heights he was hitting with the Sens. With a breakaway goal in the third period for the 2-1 lead, Pageau now has seven goals in the playoffs. Seven. Only Bo Horvat has more goals than Pageau.

Good things happen when you’re having fun. And no one embodies that better than Anthony “I’m only here to have fun” Beauvillier.

He might only get the secondary assist on Brock Nelson’s second goal in the game, but that assist was a dandy. With the puck along the boards, Beau kicks it to the middle of the ice where Brock can carry it forward for a 2-on-1 with

Josh Bailey

.

Ivan Provorov would make it 3-2 with a late goal in the third, because why not?

With the win, the Islanders hold a commanding 3-1 series lead over the top seed in the Eastern Conference. And while he didn’t score a goal today, they owe Thomas Greiss a big thank you.

Three Winners

Thomas Greiss: 36 saves, 0.947SV%
Brock Nelson: 2G, 5SOG
Josh Bailey: 2A

Three Losers

Brian Elliott: 30 saves, 0.909SV%
James Van Riemsdyk: -2, 2SOG
Matt Niskanen: -2

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