Usually, when this Flyers team goes up 1-0, they win — especially lately. But, in Game 3, the Islanders took things over basically since they went down 1-0, and beat the Flyers 3-1 to go up 2-1 in the Second Round series.
Following a tight first period that only included a 1-0 Tyler Pitlick goal, the Islanders dominated the second period. Did the Flyers sit on a lead a bit? It’s tough to tell, but either way, the Islanders kept the puck from the Flyers, and eventually took the lead.
Mathew Barzal beat Kevin Hayes to a puck, and Philippe Myers also got sucked in, giving Matt Martin plenty of room to score off of a great Barzal pass. For much of the second, it seemed like the Flyers might get off the hook with at least a tie, but then Leo Komarov scored with just six seconds left.
By just about every measure, the Flyers got stomped by the Islanders during the second period:
At 5-on-5 the Flyers have a 44.32 Corsi for percentage (39 shot attempts for, 49 shot attempts against) and a 31.15 Expected goals-for percentage. pic.twitter.com/XOeWbTLLuH
Things didn’t change much during the final frame, either. After a long stretch without penalties, Robert Hagg was whistled for two different infractions, with Anders Lee scoring a key power-play goal.
Lee ended up taking the only Islanders penalty after playing without his helmet, but the Flyers really didn’t get much going even in that desperate situation.
While the Islanders are getting a mix of offense from the expected (Barzal, Lee) and the unexpected (Komarov, Martin), the Flyers need a lot more from their top players. Claude Giroux has been limited to a single assist in this series, and hasn’t yet scored a goal (five assists, 12 games) during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Semyon Varlamov was sharp overall, even though he didn’t get tested all that often (26 out of 27 saves). Honestly, it’s tough to pin much on Carter Hart, but this tight-checking series might come down to which goalie can be perfect, or close to it.
With these two teams slated for a back-to-back on Sunday (8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream), the Flyers don’t have much time to search for answers. Then again, maybe it’s best to get back at it, and not let being dominated by the Islanders linger too much? We’ll see.
Game 1: Islanders 4, Flyers 0. (recap)Game 2: Flyers 4, Islanders 3 (OT). (recap)Game 3: Islanders 3, Flyers 1.Game 4: Sunday, Aug. 30, 8 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)Game 5: Tuesday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)*Game 6: Thursday, Sept. 3 – TBD*Game 7: Saturday, Sept. 5 – TBD
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.
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