Flyers force Game 7 vs. Islanders thanks to double OT win

Throughout Game 6, the Flyers and Islanders kept flipping the script on the narrative. Ultimately, the most important part of the Flyers – Islanders Game 6 story is how it ended. The Flyers won Game 6 in double OT by a score of 5-4, forcing the Islanders to a Game 7.

On a broken play with a serious screen in front of Semyon Varlamov, Ivan Provorov sent a seeing-eye shot into the net. The Islanders managed a 53-31 shots on goal advantage in Game 6, yet the Flyers squeezed out a win.

All three of the Flyers’ wins have come in overtime during this Second Round series.

Game 7 of Islanders – Flyers will take place on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC (livestream).

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Twists and turns in regulation

At first, it seemed like Semyon Varlamov’s struggles might define this one.

Despite doubling up the Flyers in shots on goal (10-5) during the first period, the Islanders found themselves trailing. With goals less than two minutes apart from Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk, it seemed like this Second Round series might get pushed to a Game 7. But that really just prepared us for one of several twists.

Late in the first, Derick Brassard scored a big goal to shrink the Flyers’ lead to 2-1.

That opened the door for what seemed like the turning point of Islanders – Flyers Game 6.

After a long period of deliberation, Flyers coach Alain Vigneault decided to challenge Matt Martin‘s 2-2 goal. Officials decided that there was no goalie interference involved. With that, not only did the Martin goal count, but the Islanders got a power play. Anders Lee made Philly pay with a power-play goal, putting the Islanders up 3-2.

During a short span, a 2-0 Flyers lead transformed to a 3-2 Islanders edge. About 10 minutes after the Islanders went up, Michael Raffl tied it 3-3, but Mathew Barzal restored the Islanders’ lead to 4-3 with just 30 seconds remaining in the third.

Could that be it? (Catches breath.) Nope.

Although the Flyers looked pretty flat at times early in the third, the next turning point involved another surprise. After a soft call, the Islanders went on the power play, yet Scott Laughton made a great move to tie Game 6 up 4-4 with a shorthanded goal. And then these teams would need a lot more than 60 minutes to settle Game 6 …

Islanders carry much of Game 6 vs. Flyers, including in first OT

No doubt, the Flyers were fortunate to make it to overtime. Consider that, with about five minutes remaining in the first OT period, Barzal, Anders Lee, and Jordan Eberle matched the Flyers at 20 shots on goal.

(At that moment, the total was Islanders 50, Flyers 20. Yeah. To give you an idea of Carter Hart‘s Game 6, this marked merely the second time Hart faced more than 40 SOG in 2019-20, with the last instance coming in December.)

Remember that bit about changing narratives? At least there were some “callbacks.”

Take, for instance, that failing Philly power play. Despite receiving two power-play opportunities during the first overtime — pretty rare for a single OT period in playoff hockey — the Flyers rarely got anything done. Really, the Islanders’ PK created the best chances. In fact, Travis Sanheim needed to take a penalty during Philly’ second PP of the OT, ending that not-very-promising-looking opportunity.

Speaking of promising-looking opportunities, the Flyers started to even things up more in the second OT period. If nothing else, this was extremely close to being an overtime goal for Philly:

That moment ended up not haunting the Flyers, as they won Game 6 later in that double-OT.

No. 1 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No. 6 New York Islanders (Series tied 3-3)

Game 1: Islanders 4, Flyers 0. (recap)
Game 2: Flyers 4, Islanders 3 (OT). (recap)
Game 3: Islanders 3, Flyers 1. (recap)
Game 4: Islanders 3, Flyers 2. (recap)
Game 5: Flyers 4, Islanders 3 (OT). (recap)
Game 6: Flyers 5, Islanders 4 (double OT).
Game 7: Saturday, Sept. 5 – 7:30 p.m. ET – NBC (livestream)

MORE STANLEY CUP COVERAGE:
Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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    Islanders agree to terms with Mathew Barzal on 8-year extension

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    Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.

    The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.

    Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.

    “We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”

    Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.

    “I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”

    Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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    OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

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    Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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    CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

    The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

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    Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

    The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

    The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

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    The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.