Flyers

Flyers make fans celebrate (and sweat) in tying series with crazy Game 2 win

Flyers

Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the Flyers raised some blood pressure across the Delaware Valley.

In a pivotal Game 2 of their second-round playoff series against the Islanders, the Flyers were nearly burned by a comeback and coach's challenge.

The Flyers blew a 3-0 lead, survived a late third-period New York power play and then won in overtime, 4-3, on Philippe Myers' goal 2:40 into the bonus session.

The best-of-seven series is now tied 1-1.

Well before Myers' big blast to win it, Kevin Hayes (two goals) and Sean Couturier gave the Flyers a 3-0 advantage in the opening 20 minutes.

The Flyers faced a gut check coming into the game. They got another one within the game.

• The Islanders erased a 3-1 deficit in the third period with a pair of goals as they put the Flyers completely on their heels.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the game-tying marker with only 2:09 left in regulation.

Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault challenged the play for offside but the goal was upheld, which put the Islanders on the power play (a failed challenge is deemed a delay-of-game penalty).

The Flyers survived by the skin of their teeth to force overtime.

"Totally my responsibility," Vigneault said postgame in a video interview. "Bad call on my part. The linesman was right, the guy brought the puck back in but did not touch it until the player was out of the zone, so wrong call on my part. My mistake."

Including the three matchups in the regular season, the Islanders have outscored the Flyers 10-2 in the third period. That disparity has to shrink if the Flyers want to win this series.

 

• Since Jan. 7, in games after their last 11 losses, the Flyers are 11-0-0 and have outscored the opposition 48-22.

They genuinely believe they'll respond after losses. To their credit, when they say they will, they do.

"We haven’t lost two in a row for a while," Claude Giroux said Monday after the Flyers' 4-0 loss in Game 1. "We don’t plan on losing the next one."

• Myers had never played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before this season.

What a shot for the big 23-year-old defenseman.

• Carter Hart has won the very next game each time after his three losses in the tournament. In those outings, he has stopped 85 of 90 shots and posted a 1.65 goals-against average.

The 22-year-old made 31 saves on 34 shots in Game 2. He was good despite the Islanders' comeback.

New York goalie Semyon Varlamov was yanked in the first period after allowing the three goals on 10 shots. Thomas Greiss played well in relief, making 20 stops.

• Hayes was huge. Coming off the Game 1 blanking and with the team's top five goal producers from the regular season having only one goal in the tournament, the Flyers desperately needed some of their big boys to answer the call in Game 2.

The club's top offseason acquisition showed his urgency and leadership with the Flyers' first two goals in the game's opening 10 minutes. Giroux, Couturier and Jakub Voracek didn't always have that help in recent years past — a 6-foot-5 center that can go out and just make a play to alleviate pressure.

Hayes charged his team's confidence with those goals and the Flyers improved to 8-0-0 when scoring first in the playoffs.

In his first postseason with the Flyers, the 28-year-old is a plus-8 through 11 games and already has playoff career highs in goals (three), assists (six) and points (nine).

• Seldom do you see Couturier have two bad games in a row. Subpar performances eat at him; he's a quietly motivated player.

The Frank J. Selke Trophy finalist went scoreless in consecutive games only six times during the regular season. If he's not sharp defensively in one game, it never trickles into the next.

After a down game Monday, Couturier had an extra gear to him in Game 2. He finished with his first goal of the playoffs, two points and went 9 for 16 on faceoffs.

"We know exactly what to expect from the Islanders as far as them coming at us," Vigneault said Tuesday in a video interview. "You've got to be willing to take a hit to make a play with the puck."

Couturier did just that on his goal, eating and dodging a crosscheck from Nick Leddy as the 27-year-old center gave the Flyers their 3-0 lead in the first period.

 

• Mathew Barzal has been a problem for the Flyers in the regular season and now he's giving them trouble in this second-round series.

The speedy and skilled 23-year-old center, who has 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 11 career regular-season games against the Flyers, set up the Islanders' first goal on the power play as Anders Lee brought New York to within 3-1 during the middle frame.

Barzal had a filthy assist in Game 1, as well, while Lee has two goals in the series.

Anthony Beauvillier made it 3-2 in the third period and the Flyers failed to hold off New York.

• Lauded for his smarts, 20-year-old rookie Joel Farabee made a heady play on Hayes' second goal by putting his head down and pressuring Ryan Pulock, who was receiving a bouncing puck.

Great play by a kid who is always staying low and skating with a purpose.

• No, he didn't net a goal, but Giroux exhibited why he can be effective without scoring. He won a clutch defensive-zone faceoff that jump-started Hayes' game-opening goal and skillfully assisted Couturier's goal. He also made a solid defensive play near the net with his stick in the second period.

The Flyers' captain went 8 for 13 on faceoffs.

• Robert Hagg entered the lineup for Shayne Gostisbehere and James van Riemsdyk was back in for Scott Laughton.

Laughton, who was one of the club's better forwards in the regular season and shined in the round robin, has not looked like himself at all in the first and second rounds. Maybe he's banged up but Vigneault needed more in Game 2 and went to JVR.

Here's how the Flyers looked at forward:

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek

Joel Farabee-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny

James van Riemsdyk-Derek Grant-Tyler Pitlick

Michael Raffl-Nate Thompson-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

• The teams are right back at it Thursday as the series continues with Game 3 at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

For the full series schedule, click here.