The Philadelphia Flyers face an elimination in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Islanders on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS) knowing there is no a lot of people who believe in them.
“The beauty of the playoffs is they can turn quickly, and I think we’re about to get through it,” the Philadelphia defenseman Matt Niskanen said Monday. “I believe in our group we can do it. We have to do something right for us here in Game 5 and we can start to reverse the streak. ”
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Flyers coach Alain Vigneault knows how this can happen. He coached the New York Rangers when they rallied 3-1 to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of 2014. The Vigneault Rangers also came back from behind 3-1 in the second round of 2015 against the Capitals. of Washington (then coached by Islanders coach Barry Trotz).
In 2014, the death of forward Martin St. Louis, France’s mother the day before Game 5 in Pittsburgh became an emotional rallying point for the Rangers that led them to the Stanley Cup Final. In 2015 against Washington, winning a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 5 after tying the game with 1:41 left in the third period sparked New York’s return.
“What we did back then and what we’re going to talk about with our group here is not look at the big picture, but watch the game ahead,” said Vigneault. “It’s a great opportunity, I think, for our leadership group to change the narrative, to change their legacy here. Let’s focus on tomorrow night. Let’s go. Let’s compete like we did yesterday. ”
The Flyers were limited to seven goals by the Islanders after scoring 11 goals in six games against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round.
Philadelphia showed signs of life on Sunday and generated sustained offensive pressure for much of the second and third periods, edging New York 31-15 in the final two. The Flyers have scored two goals, one on a deflection by center Sean Couturier in the second and the other on a shot from the defender’s point Ivan Provorov with the keeper pulled out for an additional attacker and 1:05 left in the third.
“We just have to keep going to the net,” said the forward Travis Konecny, who hasn’t scored in 13 playoff games after leading the Flyers with 24 goals in the regular season. “It looks like where the goals are scored is around the blue paint. I think the most important thing, too, is to put yourself in front of the keeper’s eyes. We have preached this a lot and [Couturier] did it yesterday and scored a big goal for us. So the results are there for us. It’s just a matter of getting a few more bounces. ”
The Islanders, on the other hand, were effective in capitalizing on the Flyers’ mistakes. New York became a defender on Sunday Philippe Myers‘donation of the defensive zone in Brock Nelsongoal that gave him a 1-0 lead at 6:52 in the second period. Jean-Gabriel Pageau then took behind Niskanen for a breakaway and a 2-1 7:18 lead in the third. Niskanen was caught pinching a good point on Nelson’s 2-1 goal which made it 3-1 at 11:12.
“These are errors that we must correct and which are found at the back of our nets”, center of the Flyers Kevin Hayes said. “They’re a great team, don’t get me wrong. There is a reason they are here. They have great players. But I feel like a lot of the goals that end up in the back of the net are the results of us shooting ourselves in the foot and once we have set the results should start to change. ”
The Flyers know they don’t have time to save their season anymore. The Islanders are one win away after reaching a conference final for the first time since 1993.
But the Flyers are hopeful that a victory on Tuesday could change either team’s perspective.
“Right now, not many people are probably going to give us a chance,” said Vigneault. “What we need to do is not focus on the big task, but focus on this game tonight. We brought it in yesterday. Let’s bring it in and find a way to win this game. If we score two and we have to win. 2-1, so that’s it. We have to find a way. ”