Islanders Squandered Opportunity Closing Game 5
By Billy Lewis
Tuesday night, the New York Islanders were on the verge of clinching their first Conference Finals berth since 1993. Early on, they had a chance to put the Philadelphia Flyers away.
The New York Islanders have been a team on a mission since the NHL season resumed in early August. Tuesday they had a chance to close out their series against the top-seeded Flyers.
Early into the second period, Josh Bailey threw a puck on net that saw the Islanders get on the board first. Though Mathew Barzal was in the crease, Bailey saw the traffic and was able to give the Islanders the lead (on a goal now attributed to Barzal).
Flyers coach, Alain Vigneault, challenged the goal hoping for Goalie Interference. It was determined that Flyers’ defenseman Tyler Pitlick pushed Barzal into the crease, and thus the goal counted.
Isles Chance For the Game
The Isles’ first goal was scored on the powerplay and Vigneault’s failed challenge gave the Isles a second consecutive powerplay. Had the Islanders been able to capitalize on the second chance, they would have had a 2-0 lead with about 35 minutes left of regulation time.
Instead, they had yet another unsuccessful powerplay keeping the Flyers in the game. Philly would score the game’s next three goals, leaving the Isles to fight back from 3-1 down.
It’s easy to dream what could have happened if the Islanders went up 2-0. Scoring off of a failed challenge could have been a backbreaker for the Flyers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be in Game 5. And now the Islanders need a Game 6 win to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 27 years.
The Isles have shown their resiliency in this series and were able to tie the game. Despite a couple of good looks in overtime, including a Brock Nelson breakaway, the Flyers would win to force a Game 6. A game where the Islanders need to make good on their opportunities.