The Flyers probably put their most complete game effort together, but it was not enough against the Islanders who now have a commanding 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinals series.
They had the emotional boost in place, as Oskar Lindblom raised the spirits of the team by participating in warm-ups with the Flyers. The Flyers had their struggles throughout the game trying to find passing lanes thanks to the Islanders’ defensive systems but were continually aggressive on the puck and pushing for an increased offensive effort. It was the right thing to do in a matchup of backup goaltenders. Thanks to the time crunch on the playoffs the Flyers decided to go with Brian Elliot for this game, with the Islanders starting Thomas Greiss.
The Flyers surged at times and had their most chances of any game, but Greiss held up to the challenge presented by the Flyers. The Flyers and Islanders traded back and forth in the 1st period, both scoring chances and penalties, with Konecny taking two in the period. Neither team could convert on their lone powerplay chances. In a flip from the normal, the 1st period was the worst for the Flyers. They had issues connecting with their passes and got hemmed in their zone often by the Isles. They were outshot 18 to 7 in that period.
They greatly outshot the Islanders in period 2, a 17 to 3 margin. The Islanders were 1 for 3 on their shots though, after again being gifted an opportunity by the Flyers defense. Phil Myers attempted to flip a puck out of the zone, which landed on the stick of Josh Bailey. He slid the puck over to a wide-open Brock Nelson who wired a shot over Brian Elliot’s blocker-side shoulder. The goal was at 6:52 into the period. The equalizer would come from Sean Couturier, again doing the simple thing and just getting in front of the net. Claude Giroux made the play by winning a puck battle down low and got the puck up the boards to Robert Hagg. Hagg went across the Justin Braun, who got the puck on net. Couturier’s tip was enough to fool Greiss, so he got his 2nd goal, and Hagg and Braun got their 2nd assists of the playoffs at 15:19 in the 2nd.
The Flyers came out desperate in the 3rd period. They hadn’t scored a goal in the 3rd frame of any of their games against the Islanders and both teams were playing well enough defensively that just one could make a huge difference. Unfortunately, it was the Flyers who blinked first as play opened up. Matt Niskanen got caught late on a breakout, as Devon Towes hit Scott Mayfield with a breakout pass who found JG Pageau who had beat Niskanen off the blocks. He fired at Brian Elliot, who couldn’t hang on as the puck slide through his pads as he tried to fall back and scramble to reach it. Pageau is closing in on Flyers killer status with, 3 goals in the 4 games this series.
The Islanders’ insurance marker came just 4 minutes later after Anthony Beauvillier made a beautiful skate deflection to beat a pinching Niskanen at the offensive blue line. The puck went to Brock Nelson who went 2 on 1 with Josh Bailey against Ivan Provorov. Nelson’s pass over got tipped by Provorov but not enough to disrupt the play. Bailey slides another pass back across and Nelson made no mistake hammering home the goal.
The Flyers made a push with the empty net, Ivan Provorov scored on a shot lightly redirected by an Islander trying to stop the puck which beat Greiss and got Travis Sanheim and Kevin Hayes assists. The Flyers lost 3-2, their best effort in the series not being enough. The only lineup change to expect would be Carter Hart coming back in for Game 5 but at this stage in the series, the Flyers are asking what else can they do?