Sound the alarms because this is not a drill. The Philadelphia Flyers have forced a game seven against the New York Islanders. In this must-watch playoff series, the Flyers continue to show grit. They’re not making anything easy for the Islanders. After a double overtime thriller, the tides have turned towards a series-defining game on Saturday.
About a half-hour before puck drop, the news dropped that Oskar Lindblom would make his 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs debut. His return to hockey meant the culmination of a long journey through Ewing’s sarcoma treatments. As one warrior returned, two others were out of the Philadelphia Flyers lineup. Sean Couturier and Joel Farabee were injured during game five, removing them from the lineup for game six. Forcing a game seven would be a challenge.
When Kevin Hayes scores, the Philadelphia Flyers are 29-0-1. He was responsible for the first Flyers goal of the evening after a beautiful pass from Travis Konecny to the slot. Less than two minutes later, James van Riemsdyk scored his second goal in as many games after a good pass from Jakub Voracek. Derick Brassard helped the New York Islanders onto the scoreboard after his stick broke from deflecting Devon Toews shot. The Islanders powerplay expired as Toews put the puck on the net.
One word to describe this period for the Philadelphia Flyers would be “miserable.” Justin Braun had to compensate so he could catch up with Casey Cizikas on an odd-man rush, which toppled Cizikas into Carter Hart during Matt Martin’s goal. Alain Vigneault felt that there should have been goaltender interference and challenged the scoring play. Vigneault lost that challenge, and the Flyers gave up a powerplay goal to Anders Lee while shorthanded. Michael Raffl would score to tie the game up at three for a brief time, but Mathew Barzal regained the lead for the New York Islanders with thirty seconds left.
A failed challenge from Alain Vigneault seemed like a dagger. All of the math, as far as regulation goals, points to that challenge turning into a powerplay goal for Anders Lee. The hero of game five returned with his cape. Scott Laughton completely undressed Semyon Varlamov with his stickhandling, tying the game at four apiece. Next up is overtime hockey, something the Philadelphia Flyers know all too well.
Overtime Period One
Carter Hart kept the Philadelphia Flyers in this game. Quite frankly, he is a big reason as to why the Flyers are still in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Philadelphia turned the puck over almost twice as many times as the New York Islanders and trailed the Islanders by more than twenty shots. The Islanders are without a win when their playoff opponent scores three or more goals this postseason. These strange statistics have proven to be accurate trends, including the conclusion of this game.
As this game moved on, the Philadelphia Flyers became tougher. Specifically, in the overtime periods, various Flyers players would have New York Islanders lined up for a bodycheck, but would not budge. It looked like Philadelphia was on the receiving end of their hits against the Islanders. Bringing the physical aspect of the game eventually wore down New York, buying some time to set up the offense. Finally, Ivan Provorov scored from the blue line to secure a 5-4 Flyers victory in double overtime.
For the first time since December 7th, 2019, Oskar Lindblom played for the Philadelphia Flyers. Without a doubt, his return to the ice provided a much-needed boost. He played seventeen and a half minutes. I would expect his playing time to grow for game seven. His stat line was empty, but all of the hearts of the Flyers were full.
“Getcha Cahta Haht”
He has been electric throughout his first postseason. The 22-year-old goaltender commits grand theft on a nightly basis against playoff opponents. Last night, he saved 49 of 53 shots. Commonly, the first star of the game goes to who scores the game-winning goal. That honor should go to Hart after the biggest game of his career to date.
What’s the Deal With the Flyers and Overtime!?
It’s like a bad Jerry Seinfeld segue, but seriously, the Philadelphia Flyers thrive in overtime hockey. Every time the Flyers go into overtime against the New York Islanders, it is because Philadelphia blew a lead. At some point, you think the Islanders would have the momentum in overtime since they’re the ones who force it. The Flyers love overtime hockey and forcing game sevens. Now, Philadelphia has reversed the pressure on New York.
Mandatory Credit – Alex McIntyre