Tuesday night, the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers met at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the final time this season. The game was a must-win for both teams, for the Flyers it meant staying in the chase for the playoffs and for the Islanders it meant keeping their playoff berth secure before they travel to Boston on Thursday.
After 60 minutes of play, the New York Islanders were victorious after a final score of 4-1. Jakub Voracek scored the lone goal for the Philadelphia Flyers after teammate Claude Giroux found him just before crossing the blue line with a long pass from inside the Flyer zone. Voracek launched a backhand shot at New York Islanders Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov that was initially saved, but trailing Defenseman Andrew MacDonald crashed into Nabokov, and pushed him and the puck into the net. After the initial goal, the New York Islanders seemed to start controlling play, and before the end of the period Matt Moulson scored on Flyers Goaltender Steve Mason with a wrist shot after a late pass by Brad Boyes on a 2 on 2 breakaway.
The Islanders continued using the momentum from the first period to control play in the second. Yet after numerous breakaway attempts Flyers Goaltender Steve Mason still had a tie on his hands until the final two minutes of the period when New York Islander Colin McDonald found teammate Michael Grabner wide open in the slot for a wrist shot past the glove of Mason. The Islanders kept the pressure on the Flyers for the final 20 minutes of the 3rd period and their hard work paid off when New York Islander John Tavares stole the puck along the boards from Philadelphia Flyer Brayden Schenn and broke out with Matt Moulson on a 2 on 1 against Flyer Defenseman Erik Gustafsson. Tavares lauched a wrist shot that Flyer Goaltender Steve Mason saved, but the kick save rebound landed in front of Erik Gustafsson, who crashed the net and scored the Islanders third goal. With a desperation attempt to get back into the game Flyers coach Peter Laviolette pulled Goaltender Steve Mason, and with just over a minute left in the game New York Islander Casey Cizikas secured the win with the open net goal, for the fourth and final goal of the game.
With the win over the Flyers, the Islanders move one step closer to their first Stanley Cup Playoff berth since 2007, securing 2nd place in the Atlantic division and tying for 6th place with the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference. Playoffs are certainly on the minds of the Islanders fans who were shouting “We want playoffs!” during the third period. The Islanders play the Boston Bruins Thursday night and hope to continue their winning streak at the TD Garden.
The 3 stars of the game were:
1: Matt Moulson
2: Michael Grabner
3: Evgeni Nabokov
Winning Goaltender: Evgeni Nabokov
Losing Goaltender: Steve Mason
Brandon Titus photographed the game for Inside Hockey.