In Edmonton, it was more of the same as Vancouver fought off elimination thanks to an outstanding effort from Thatcher Demko and beat the Golden Knights 2-1 to also force a Game 6 Thursday.
PHILADELPHIA 4 NEW YORK ISLANDERS 3 (OT) (Islanders lead the best-of-seven series 3-2)
After a scoreless first period in which the Flyers outshot New York 11-4, Josh Bailey got things started with a power play goal, his third goal of the post-season. Bailey banked a shot in off Carter Hart from behind the net (actually just off to the side of the net) to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead.
The Flyers tied it at 1 from an unlikely source (at least this post-season) as Claude Giroux finally found the back of the net for his first of the playoffs and only his second playoff goal since the 2013-14 season, a span of 26 games. The Flyers need a lot more from Giroux as he should be the heart and soul of the Flyers squad.
The Flyers took a 2-1 lead as James van Riemsdyk scored his first of the post-season. His shot off a nice pass from Scott Laughton eluded Semyon Varlamov and went into the net. Varlamov sure wished he had that one back.
Matt Niskanen, with his first, made it 3-1 at the 4:32 mark of the third as his shot went past Varlamov, but Brock Nelson’s sixth goal (a weak one that Hart should have had) cut the lead in half to 2-1.
That goal set up Laughton’s overtime heroics and sent the series to a Game 6 Thursday.
Hart stopped 29 shots for the win, despite giving up a couple of late goals in only 1:33, late in the third.
Varlamov wasn’t at his sharpest Monday, stopping 28-of-32 shots in taking his third loss of the post-season.
Mathew Barzal suffered a cut around the eye, courtesy of a Giroux high-stick and while early reports stated that there is no damage to the eye, there was no update after the game, but more should be known Wednesday. Hang tight if you have Barzal in a pool as he is currently questionable for Game 6 Thursday. Barzal has assists in four of the Flyers five contests against the Penguins.
Sean Couturier also left Tuesday’s game early as he went to hit Barzal and collided knee-on-knee with the Islanders center. He left the ice and did not return. Consider him day-to-day as well.
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VANCOUVER 2 VEGAS 1 (Vegas leads the best-of-seven series 3-2)
It was the Thatcher Demko show on Tuesday as the rookie netminder replaced the injured Jacob Markstrom in the Vancouver net and stopped 42-of-43 shots to give the Canucks a 2-1 win in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series.
The Golden Knights carried the play most of the night as they outshot Vancouver 43-17 but they could not solve Demko.
The first period was scoreless and Vegas took a 1-0 lead when defenseman Shea Theodore, who has become a fantasy stud in the post-season, scored a gorgeous goal as he stickhandled around the whole Canuck team and deposited the puck high over Demko’s glove hand and into the net. Theodore has five goals and 15 points in 13 games and is ninth in NHL scoring, as well as second among defenseman. He trails Miro Heiskanen by three points. Theodore had 46 points in the regular season to lead the Vegas defensive corps and should now be considered a top-15 fantasy defenseman in next year’s drafts.
It didn’t take the Canucks long to tie it up as Brock Boeser played a nice give and go with teammate J.T. Miller and tipped Miller’s return pass past Robin Lehner and into the net just 24 seconds after Theodore gave the Vegas the early lead.
The second period ended tied at 1 and Vancouver took its first lead of the contest at the 3:19 mark of the third when Elias Pettersson deflected Boeser’s wrist shot from 50 feet out, as Lehner had no chance on the goal.
The Golden Knights outshot Vancouver 15-7 in the third after outshooting them 10-6 in the first and then totally dominating them in the second, to the tune of 18-4 but Demko was sensational in his first career NHL playoff start. He finished up on August 23 in Game 1 against Vegas, so that got his toes wet in playoff action and he showed everyone what kind of goaltender he is on Tuesday night.
Miller assisted on both goals with Boeser scoring once and assisting on the other.
Jonathan Marchessault had eight shots on goal.
Alexander Edler blocked six shots.
Theodore is on a seven-game scoring streak with two goals and 10 points.
One by many.
Travis Konecny – 2
J.T. Miller - 2
Shots on Goal
Kevin Hayes – 6
Cal Clutterbuck – 8
Casey Cizikas - 7
Matt Martin – 7
Two by many.