3 Keys: Flyers vs. Islanders, Game 3 of Eastern Second Round


    The Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders will resume the Eastern Conference Second Round in Game 3 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Saturday. 

    It’s the first of a back-to-back; Game 4 will be played in Toronto, the Eastern hub city, on Sunday. 

    The Flyers evened the best-of-7 series with a 4-3 overtime win in Game 2 on Wednesday. 

    Game 3 was rescheduled from Thursday after the players on the eight remaining teams decided not to play as a form of protest against systemic racism and police brutality. 

    Teams that win Game 3 after a Stanley Cup Playoffs series is tied 1-1 are 218-107 (67.1 percent) winning a best-of-7 series, including 3-1 in the first round this season.

    Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov was pulled at 15:09 of the first period in Game 2 after he allowed three goals on 10 shots. Varlamov set an Islanders record for the longest shutout streak in the Stanley Cup Playoffs 40 seconds into the game to pass the New York postseason record of 136:59, set by Billy Smith in 1980 across three games. He reached 138:17 before Flyers center Kevin Hayes scored at 1:57 of the first. He was later relieved by Thomas Greiss, who made 20 saves. 

    Varlamov will likely start for the Islanders in Game 3 and be provided a chance to bounce back. 

    « Any decision I make [with] the goaltending, I feel pretty comfortable all the time, » New York coach Barry Trotz said. « The one thing that we’re very fortunate, both our goaltenders are experienced and they’re great pros and they’re able to not look at what happened last game, they just prepare for the game ahead. Both of them are very supportive and we’ve got a back-to-back, so we may see both of them. » 

    The Flyers had to be encouraged to see production from centers Hayes (two goals) and Sean Couturier (one goal, one assist) in Game 2; they were two of their top-five goal scorers during the regular season and had one goal combined (by Hayes) through the first 10 games of this postseason. Forwards Travis Konecny, Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk are still seeking their first goal of the postseason. 

    Van Riemsdyk had two shots on goal in 15:19 Wednesday after being a healthy scratch for Game 1. 

    « I thought James played hard last night, » Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said Thursday. « He’s an offensive player that has an ability around the net. I thought his overall game yesterday, him getting in on the forecheck, using his size, helping up kill plays in the neutral zone, I thought his game was good. » 

    The Islanders were again the better team in the third period Wednesday and have outscored the Flyers 5-0 thus far. New York outscored the Washington Capitals 7-1 in the third period in the first round. 

    « I think No. 1 is they believe, » Trotz said. « You use the term you’ve got to go the distance, you don’t know what’s going to happen. You see in the playoffs, changes where a team will be up two or three goals, and then something will happen and there’s a spark and it can change in a heartbeat. It can change with a quick goal, a penalty, a power-play goal, and then all of a sudden you’re in a one-goal game and it happens that quickly. You can’t let any moments slip by and let it pass without a real strong effort. I think we believe that no game is done until the final horn, and that was the belief we had [Wednesday] as well. » 

    Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Connor Bunnaman, Morgan Frost, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Mark Friedman, Shayne Gostisbehere, Andy Welinski, Egor Zamula, Alex Lyon, Kirill Ustimenko

    Scratched: Michael Dal Colle, Ross Johnston, Otto Koivula, Tom Kuhnhackl, Andrew Ladd, Sebastian Aho, Johnny Boychuk, Noah Dobson, Thomas Hickey, Christopher Gibson

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