After two fantastic Western Conference Game 7 showdowns on Friday night, Saturday is for the East. The Flyers and Islanders meet in a winner-take-all contest and the opportunity to take another step toward lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The Islanders led this series 3-1 but couldn’t put it away as they lost Games 5 and 6 in overtime (the latter in double OT). Of course, as with every other series, who will be in goal for New York is in question. Head coach Barry Trotz said during morning availability Saturday that there will be lineup changes. What that exactly means is anyone’s guess but the team from the Island does have Thomas Greiss (1-1, with the loss coming in Game 2 in overtime) and Semyon Varlamov (who lost the last two games) ready to go. Both netminders split time during the regular season and Trotz may turn to Greiss for a jolt.
“Whoever’s in the net, we know they’ll do the job,” J-G Pageau said Saturday. “But we’ve got to do the job in front of them, too.”
The Islanders, by the way, haven’t been to a conference final since 1993; they got there that year by winning the Patrick Division finals (equivalent to today’s second round) in a Game 7 against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins.
The Flyers entered the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the East and will be looking to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2010; that year, they got all the way to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Blackhawks. If they hope to skate away with a victory in Game 7, they’ll need to get their power play going; they’re 0 for 11 in this series.
Philadelphia did get a good-vibes boost in Game 6 as Oskar Lindblom played for the first time since being diagnosed with cancer in December. He played more than 17 minutes in his return.
And it doesn’t hurt that head coach Alain Vigneault knows a thing or two about winning Game 7s — he’s 5-2 in them all time. Funny thing is, while he has beaten Trotz in a Game 7 before (2015 second round, Rangers over Capitals), he has also beaten the Flyers. The last time Philadelphia was in a Game 7 was in 2014, when the Rangers were on their way to the Stanley Cup Final.
Sporting News has all the action as the Islanders and Flyers face off for a spot in the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning.
Islanders vs. Flyers scores, updates from Game 7
(All times Eastern.)
8:52 p.m. — GOAL. Flyers steal the puck from Claude Giroux and leads to a 2-on-1. It’s Josh Bailey to Nelson at the other end for the easy goal. Islanders lead 3-0.
8:42 p.m. — Anthony Beauvillier knocks the puck out of mid-air from the left circle and it pings off the post.
Interesting first eight minutes of the middle period, as Isles hit one post, miss an empty net, have two PPs and Hart makes at least two stops with no idea where the puck was. Yet Philly hanging in, still only down two.
— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) September 6, 2020
8:38 p.m. — Now it’s Mat Barzal that’s hurt as it looks like he takes an errant stick from his teammate Jordan Eberle right to the nose.
It’s been a tough couple of days for the youngster who also took a stick under his visor in Game 5.
Then had a shot go off the crossbar and knock his helmet right off in warmups for Game 7. (Side note: This is why you should always wear your helmet, even in warmups!)
8:35 p.m. — Ivan Provorov takes a shot right off the left kneecap and is down in a lot of pain. He does get up and skates off on his own power but it did not look great there for a second.
8:34 p.m. — Flyers called for too many men and hand the Islanders their third power play of the night.
8:32 p.m. — Flyers hit the pipe.
8:30 p.m. — Second period underway and the Isles start on the power play (but they don’t score).
First period: Islanders 2, Flyers 0
8:13 p.m. — Horn sounds. Isles will start second on the power play.
8:10 p.m. — Isles didn’t score on that man advantage but get another chance as Voracek gets a minor with 53.4 seconds left in the period.
8:04 p.m. — Flyers take a penalty. Things unraveling for the team a tad.
8:00 p.m. — GOAL. Isles buzzing and Derick Brassard goes across the seam to Andy Greene for the goal into the empty net. Carter Hart was screened on the pass and couldn’t get across in time. Islanders lead 2-0.
7:56 p.m. — Islanders getting scoring from everyone as Mayfield is the 16th player to score in the postseason.
7:52 p.m. — GOAL. Defenseman Scott Mayfield is allowed to glide down from the right point and fires the wrister top corner past the blocker of Carter Hart. Pinpoint shot for Mayfield’s first career playoff goal. Islanders lead 1-0.
7:47 p.m. — J-G Pageau gets two for holding. Quick reminder: Flyers power play has not been good — at all. (They didn’t score.)
7:45 p.m. — Flyers come close on a tip-in off a pass from Jakub Voracek.
7:41 p.m. — Four minutes in and each team has one shot.
7:39 p.m. — Flyers come close.
7:35 p.m. — Game on.
7:35 p.m. — Derek Grant also out of the lineup for the Flyers.
7:05 p.m. — Other lineup notes.
7 p.m. ET — Greiss is a go.