The Islanders had a chance to advance to a conference final for the first time in 27 years, but now that will have to wait at least a couple of more days. For the second time in this series, the Islanders battled back in the third period to force overtime, but Scott Laughton redirected an Ivan Provorov shot at 12:20 of OT to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 4-3 win over the Islanders in game five at Scotiabank Arena. The Flyers stay alive cutting the Islanders lead in the series to 3-2 with game six set for Thursday night in Toronto.
For the third straight time in the playoffs, the Islanders failed to close out a series on their first try.
“They’re always the hardest games,” said Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz of closeout games. “I think going into this series, I think everyone was thinking it might be a pretty long one. I was anyways, but you want to close it out as quick as you can and we weren’t able to do that tonight.”
Islanders/Flyers Series Schedule:
Game 1: Monday August 24th…Islanders 4 Flyers 0 (Islanders lead 1-0)
Game 2: Wednesday August 26th…Flyers 4 Islanders 3 F/OT (Series Tied 1-1)
Game 3: Saturday August 29th…Islanders 3 Flyers 1 (Islanders lead 2-1)
Game 4: Sunday August 30th…Islanders 3 Flyers 2 (Islanders lead 3-1)
Game 5: Tuesday September 1st…Flyers 4 Islanders 3 F/OT (Islanders lead 3-2)
Game 6: Thursday September 3rd…Flyers vs Islanders…7pm
Game 7: Saturday September 5th…Islanders vs Flyers…TBD (if necessary)
Trotz did not have an update after the game on forward Mat Barzal who took a stick in the face from Flyers Captain Claude Giroux and did not return. Barzal was struck near his right eye and was bleeding a bit but Trotz said he hopes to have an update on Wednesday. According to Dave Pagnotta of “The Fourth Period”, early indications were that Barzal was doing well and there was no issue with his eye.
After a scoreless first period, Barzal scored a power play goal at 1:20 of the second to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead. But late in the period, the Flyers took control of the game. Giroux scored on a tip-in at 15:45 and then at 18:18 James van Riemsdyk took a pass from Laughton and beat Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov. Matt Niskanen scored at 4:32 to extend the Flyers lead to 3-1, but the Islanders started to pick up their game.
Still down by two goals, Brock Nelson scored at 15:46 to make it a 3-2 game and then Derick Brassard took a feed from Cal Clutterbuck and bat Carter Hart at 17:19 to tie the game.
It was another electrifying comeback from the Islanders, but at the end of the day, they came up short just like they did in game two.
“Regardless, you turn the page,” said Bailey who also notched his 12th and 13th assists in the game. He joins Ray Ferraro as the only two Islanders in 36 years to average at least one point per game in a single postseason with at least 12 games played.
Without Barzal, the Islanders were able to come back and then had a great chance to win the game in overtime, but Hart stopped Nelson on a breakaway. It was a lost opportunity for the Islanders, but now they have to focus on game six.
“In the playoffs, you just have to move on,” said Brassard. “Tomorrow is a new day. We’re not going to look behind. We’re going to look ahead.”
And what lies ahead is game six on Thursday and another chance for the Islanders to punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Photo: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire