Phil Myers' OT Goal Lifts Flyers over Islanders in Game 2 to Even Series

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 26, 2020

New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) sends Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (14) flying, left, as Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) reacts after allowing a game-tying goal to the Flyers during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in New York. The Islanders defeated the Flyers 5-3. Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) looks in the crease as Flyers right wing Jakub Voracek (93) reacts. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Islanders in Game 2 on Wednesday 4-3 in overtime to even the series at 1-1 in spectacular fashion. 


Philippe Myers (@philmyers06) 🤝 OT winner #StanleyCup https://t.co/0HyJjP2kxX

New York had been one of the most defensively sound teams remaining in the playoffs, and it took just 15 minutes for the Flyers to dismantle it. Three first-period goals from Philadelphia put the Islanders in a hole they never recovered from and will surely force changes by head coach Barry Trotz moving forward.

The scoring onslaught in the first period is only more incredible given the Islanders had allowed just four even-strength goals in five games against the Washington Capitals during the first round—a total that was  matched in Game 3.

After blanking the Flyers 4-0 in Game 1, it's New York's turn to adjust. It can start by fixing a defense that was the club's strength until Wednesday evening. 


Notable Performers

Kevin Hayes, C, Philadelphia Flyers: 2 goals, 3 SOG, 19:02 TOI

Philippe Myers, D, Philadelphia Flyers: 1 goal (game-winner), 4 hits, 17:59 TOI

Anthony Beauvillier, LW, New York Islanders: 1 goal, 6 SOG, 3 hits

Semyon Varlamov, G, New York Islanders: 3 goals allowed, 7 saves, 15:09 TOI            

Islanders' Costly Miscues 

The first sign New York's defense wasn't functioning well Wednesday came just two minutes after the opening puck drop. 

With the Flyers breaking out of their own end, four Islanders crowded the strong side of the ice, leaving Kevin Hayes open along the left wing with his defender drifting away. New York didn't have time to recover after Hayes received a pass from Travis Konecny across the blue line. That left him a small window on goalie Semyon Varlamov. It was all Hayes needed. 


Holy smokes @KevinPHayes12... what a shot! 😲 #StanleyCup 🇺🇸: https://t.co/v7WPBDoFjQ @NHLonNBCSports 🇨🇦: https://t.co/eVCyWTbCNm @Sportsnet https://t.co/c78mEZvBVK

The winger fired short-side, bar down to open the scoring early and expose a weakness in Varlamov's game. 

Hayes went right back to the same spot for his second goal of the game eight minutes later after Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock mishandled a clearing attempt and turned the puck over at center ice. 

The third goal of the first period saw the Islanders' forecheck leave the middle of the ice open again for a breakout pass that found Sean Couturier one-on-one with Nick Leddy at the blue line. 

Couturier bullied his way past the veteran defenseman and went right to Varlamov's short side. 


Sean Couturier and the @NHLFlyers are off to the start they wanted. ✔️ #StanleyCup 🇺🇸: https://t.co/VtYD75XBgU @NHLonNBCSports 🇨🇦: https://t.co/eVCyWTtdEU @Sportsnet https://t.co/T6mSIU1c91


New York's Goalie Decision

The Flyers' third goal of the game spelled the end of Varlamov's night. Trotz pulled the goalie in favor of backup Thomas Greiss, who provided both an improvement on the back end and a spark on offense. 

New York scored the next three goals, tying the game with just over two minutes remaining in the third period on a Jean Gabriel-Pageau shot off a failed clearing attempt by the Flyers. Meanwhile, Greiss provided some much-needed stability with 20 saves on 21 shots. 


OT is coming up! #StanleyCup 🇺🇸: https://t.co/HkEqyAeiDb @NHLonNBCSports 🇨🇦: https://t.co/eVCyWTbCNm @Sportsnet https://t.co/ZMZW0FaUmR

His only mistake came on the game-winner, a bouncing puck off a Myers slap shot that wound its way through traffic and into the back of the net. 

With only 24 hours until Game 3's puck drop, Trotz suddenly has a small goalie controversy on his hands. 

It's clear Varlamov's stick-side weakness provided the Flyers with an easy target Wednesday. If one night is enough to correct those issues, he could jump back into the crease Thursday. 

If not, things get trickier. 

New York Islanders @NYIslanders

Gotta love a little give and go! 🤩 https://t.co/QDiYPymTYZ

Greiss hasn't started back-to-back games this season and asking him to come off the bench and then own the crease a day later is no easy task. 

Had the Islanders won, a decision to stick with Greiss can be played off as sticking with the "hot hand." That's not the case anymore, and the decision comes right back to Trotz. 


What's Next

Game 3 between the Islanders and Flyers is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.