Toronto – Jean Gabriel Pageau scored the go-ahead goal 7:18 into the third period and the New York Islanders moved within one win of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night.
Brock Nelson scored twice, both set up by Josh Bailey, and the Islanders gained a 3-1 lead of the best-of-seven second-round series with Game 5 set for Tuesday night. New York is seeking to make its first conference finals appearance since 1993, when the Islanders lost to Montreal to six games.
Backup goalie Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots in making his first start of the playoffs in a game both teams rested their starters while playing on consecutive nights. Playing in place of Semyon Varlamov, it was Greiss’ first start since a 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina on March 7, and second appearance this postseason.
Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov scored for the East’s top-seeded Flyers, who were coming off a 3-1 loss on Saturday. Philadelphia lost consecutive games for the first time since an 0-3-1 skid from Dec. 31-Jan. 7.
Though Provorov scored with 64 seconds left and the Flyers net empty, Philadelphia managed just one more shot on net, as the Islanders controlled the puck in their own corner for much of the final 20 seconds.
Philadelphia’s Brian Elliott stopped 30 shots in place of Carter Hart. It was Elliott’s third appearance this postseason, and second start after he stopped 16 shots in a 3-1 win over Washington in a preliminary round-robin game on Aug. 6.
Defenseman Scott Mayfield jumped into the rush to set up the go-ahead goal. Accepting a pass from Devon Toews, Mayfield fed Pageau for a breakaway. Pageau drove down the middle and sneaked a shot through Elliott’s legs, with the puck having enough spin on it to dribble over the goal line.
Nelson made it 3-1 by scoring four-minutes later by completing a give-and-go with Bailey on a two-on-one break. Driving the Flyers zone up the right wing, Nelson fed Bailey, who returned the pass allowing Nelson to tap the puck in the open left side.
The Flyers’ offense has essentially dried up, with captain Claude Giroux having yet to score this postseason.
After combining for 11 goals in sweeping the top-seeded playoff-opening round-robin series, Philadelphia has managed just 18 in its past 10 outings.
Both goalies were particularly sharp in the first period, which the Flyers opened with a 5-0 edge in shots. Greiss took Scott Laughton’s shot from the left circle off the top of his mask 3:20 in, and made his best stop some four minutes later in kicking out his right pad to foil Joel Farabee’s redirection.
It was then Elliott’s turn to hold the fort in a period that ended scoreless and New York holding an 18-7 edge in shots.
With Philadelphia’s Travis Konecny off for slashing, Elliott stopped Ryan Pulock’s blast from the left circle, and then recovered to kick out his left pad to stop Anders Lee attempting to convert the rebound in front with 4:11 left. Some 20 seconds later, Elliott got across to his right to squeeze Mathew Barzal’s one-timer under his arm.
Nelson opened the scoring 6:25 into the second period, being set up by Bailey, who intercepted Philippe Myers weak clearing attempt at the left point. Bailey drove up the boards and centered to an open Nelson, who snapped a shot in the top left corner.
The Flyers tied it nine minutes later when Giroux dug out the puck in the left corner. Philadelphia worked the puck to the right point, where Justin Braun’s slap shot was deflected in by Couturier, who had position on defenseman Devon Toews.
The Flyers responded by dominating the Islanders in a second period in which they out-shot New York 17-3. The Islanders didn’t manage a shot on goal over the final 10:44 of the second.
Dallas 5, Colorado 4: Radek Faksa had a goal and two assists, Roope Hintz scored the last of three power-play goals by Dallas and the Stars beat Colorado to take 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.
The Stars, who led 3-0 in the first period before Colorado had its first shot on goal, saw their margin cut to one before Hintz was patient with the puck about 71/2 minutes into the third period. There were only a couple of seconds left on a power play when he scored on Dallas’ seventh shot during that segment after initially waiting for some traffic to clear.
Dallas then got a gift goal only 32 seconds later when Avalanche rookie defender Cale Makar, who had scored late in the second period, tried to clear a puck from behind his own net and flubbed the attempt. Stars rookie Denis Gurianov knocked it in for a 5-2 lead.
John Klingberg had a goal and an assist for the Stars, who need one win to get to their first conference final since 2008. Game 5 is Monday night.
Valeri Nichushkin scored two goals for the Avalanche. Vladislav Namestnikov added a goal with 3.6 seconds remaining when Colorado had an extra skater on the ice.
Stars goalie Anton Khudobin stopped 33 shots. Pavel Francouz made 21 saves before Michael Hutchinson made his playoff debut and stopped three shots.
(6)N.Y. Islanders 3, (1)Philadelphia 1
Monday, Aug. 24: N.Y. Islanders 4, Philadelphia 0
Wednesday, Aug. 26: Philadelphia 4, N.Y. Islanders 3, OT
Thursday, Aug. 27: Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Islanders, ppd.
Saturday, Aug. 29: N.Y. Islanders 3, Philadelphia 1
Sunday, Aug. 30: N.Y. Islanders 3, Philadelphia 2
Tuesday, Sept. 1: Philadelphia vs. N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.
x-Thursday, Sept. 3: N.Y. Islanders vs. Philadelphia, TBD
x-Saturday, Sept. 5: N.Y. Islanders vs. Philadelphia, TBD
(2)Tampa Bay 3, (4)Boston 1
Sunday, Aug. 23: Boston 3, Tampa Bay 2
Tuesday, Aug. 25 : Tampa Bay 4, Boston 3, OT
Wednesday, Aug. 26: Tampa Bay 7, Boston 1
Friday, Aug. 28: Tampa Bay vs. Boston, ppd.
Saturday, Aug. 29: Tampa Bay 3, Boston 1
Monday, Aug. 31: Boston vs. Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
x-Wednesday, Sept. 2: Tampa Bay vs. Boston, TBD
x-Thursday, Sept. 3: Boston vs. Tampa Bay, TBD
(1)Las Vegas 2, (5)Vancouver 1
Sunday, Aug. 23: Las Vegas 5, Vancouver 0
Tuesday, Aug. 25: Vancouver 5, Las Vegas 2
Thursday, Aug. 27: Las Vegas vs. Vancouver, ppd.
Saturday, Aug. 29: Las Vegas 3, Vancouver 0
Sunday, Aug. 30: Las Vegas vs. Vancouver, 10:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 1: Vancouver vs. Las Vegas, 9:45 p.m.
x-Thursday, Sept. 3: Las Vegas vs. Vancouver, TBD
x-Friday, Sept. 4: Vancouver vs. Las Vegas, TBD
(3)Dallas 3, (2)Colorado 1
Saturday, Aug. 22: Dallas 5, Colorado 3
Monday, Aug. 24: Dallas 5, Colorado 2
Wednesday, Aug. 26: Colorado 6, Dallas 4
Friday, Aug. 28: Colorado vs. Dallas, ppd.
Sunday, Aug. 30: Dallas 5, Colorado 4
Monday, Aug. 31: Dallas vs. Colorado, 9:45 p.m.
x-Wednesday, Sept. 2: Colorado vs. Dallas, TBD
x-Friday, Sept. 4: Colorado vs. Dallas, TBD