Josh Bailey scored the shootout winner against Ilya Bryzgalov to give the New York Islanders the 4-3 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
Brad Boyes also scored in the shootout, while Claude Giroux potted one for the Flyers on a beautiful move made famous by Pavel Datsyuk.
Scott Hartnell scored two power play goals, while Mike Knuble added a goal of his own in a return to the lineup after being a regular healthy scratch. Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds each added two assists, while Read managed one himself.
Accounting for the Islanders offensive efforts were John Tavares and Colin McDonald had two third period goals for the Islanders to both tie the game and take the lead.
Ilya Bryzgalov had a strong game saving 33 of 36 shots, with two of the goals against deflecting off of his own players; but he was bested by Evgeni Nabokov in the shootout. Nabokov got the win, mirroring Bryzgalov’s stats also making saving 33 of 36.
The teams entered the game with the Islanders having more at stake, only two points out of a playoff spot while the Flyers were closer to the basement in the East (four points) than they were the 8th seed (seven points).
Scott Hartnell opened the scoring 4:15 into the game on the power play. Claude Giroux found him in his usual shooting position inside the circle on the power play and despite flubbing the shot, it found its way in the back of the net. As has been the case most of the season, the Flyers’ offense continued to look pretty anemic at even strength in the first period until an Islander breakdown led to a Giroux and Mike Knuble two on one. Giroux found Knuble who walked in and made it look easily as he beat Nabokov with a deke and deposited it in the net on his backhand to make it 2-0.
A team in orange came out to play in the second period, but it couldn’t have been the Flyers because it was some of the best even strength play they’ve had all season. It seemed like every line was managing extended shifts in the Islanders’ zone. The Flyers started the period with an 11 to 1 shot advantage. However, at one point Rinaldo was interfered with in the neutral zone on an arguable non-call, which ultimately led to John Tavares scoring a lucky goal off of Erik Gustafsson’s skate to make it 2-1. Braydon Coburn left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return. As a result, both Bruno Gervais and Erik Gustafsson had to take on larger roles, both logging over 20 minutes of ice time.
The all too familiar third period woes began with the Islanders on the power play after Brayden Schenn took a tripping penalty on Nabokov as time expired in the second. The Isles took that momentum and thoroughly dominated the third period until Colin McDonald scored at 10:04 of the third to tie the game at two. Later in the period, McDonald got his second of the night to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead when his shot went off of Bruno Gervais’ leg and past Bryzgalov.
After a Flyer timeout and an empty net, with 1:32 remaining, the Islanders were called for a faceoff violation for playing the puck with a hand on a draw, a new rule in 2013. The Flyers took advantage as Hartnell got his second power play goal of the game as he banged in a loose puck with 30 seconds remaining to tie the game at three and force overtime. However, Brayden Schenn took an interference penalty with 0.8 seconds remaining.
Heading into overtime, the Flyers had, essentially, a full two minutes of time to kill in the five minute stanza. After the penalty expired, a failed clear by Luke Schenn led to some scary moments that the Flyers survived. Ultimately, it was a relatively calm overtime with neither team generating much opportunity outside of the Islander’s initial power play.
The Flyers opted to shoot first where Matt Read was stopped by Nabokov with a blocker save. The Islanders first shooter was Frans Nielsen, who is one of the best penalty shooters, but he got a little too much on his backhander and sailed it over the net. Next up was Claude Giroux, who scored on an absolutely gorgeous move which he’s done before but was made famous by Pavel Datsyuk. The Isle countered with Brad Boyes who ripped a shot off the crossbar and in. Brayden Schenn was then stopped on his backhand by Nabokov, but Bryzgalov offered the same result against John Tavares.
So we went to extra shooters where the Flyers went with Wayne Simmonds, who, frankly, should never be taking shootouts. After he stumbled on his chance and missed, he is now one for seven as a Flyer. Josh Bailey then won it as he beat Bryzgalov with a wrister.
The two clubs will meet two more times in this shortened season, April 9 in New York and April 25 in Philadelphia.
Notes: The teams entered the contest with the Flyers having the 2nd best home power play and the Islanders having the best road power play…The Flyers went 2 for 2 on the power play and 5 for 5 on the penalty kill against the Islanders…Kurtis Foster is three games away from the 400th of his career…Braydon Coburn is nine penalty minutes away from 400 for his career…Heading into the game, Claude Giroux was taking a league-leading 41.8% of his team’s faceoffs.