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 email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.