In Game 2, Philadelphia also led 3-1 in the third period before the Islanders rallied. The Flyers won that game in overtime before dropping the next two in New York.
Tuesday, faced with elimination, there was more at stake, and coach Alain Vigneault called on his best players to “put on their big boy pants” for the fifth game.
“Big boy’s pants are something they know about,” said Vigneault. “They don’t need me to motivate them. It’s a group that motivates itself. They have a lot of pride and a lot of competition. ”
Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk – the latter of which was a good scratch at times in the playoffs – responded to their coach’s request with their sticks, scoring their first playoff goals after New York climbed 1-0 on Josh Bailey’s first goal of the period. Matt Niskanen added his first playoff goal early in the third period to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead.
The rambling Islanders made a big push late, however, tying goals from Brock Nelson and Derick Brassard 93 seconds apart.
“The third period, we were coming,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said.
Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, who stopped 29 shots, made some spectacular overtime saves, and Laughton redirected Ivan Provorov at 12:20 p.m. to bring the Flyers back to 3-2 in the second-round best-seven streak.
Game six is Thursday in the Toronto bubble.
“In games like this, everyone has to pull the rope and move in the right direction,” van Riemsdyk said. “Everyone did their job and played their part tonight. ”
The Islanders positioned themselves to win the series with back-to-back wins with various goalies in Games 3 and 4.
Semyon Varlamov returned to the crease after Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots in Game 4 and was precise from the start as the Flyers controlled the game much of the first period.
The Islanders opened the second period on a power play after hitting four shots in the first and immediately capitalized. Bailey scored on an envelope through a pile of bodies in the crease, a goal confirmed after examination for goalkeeper interference.
The Flyers withstood another push from New York in the second and Giroux scored late, redirecting a Philippe Myers shot into Varlamov’s legs for his first goal in 26 playoff games.
Van Riemsdyk gave the Flyers their first lead since the start of Game 3, a timing of a pass from Laughton past Varlamov’s gloves two and a half minutes later.
Niskanen made it 3-1 after rolling to New York in the third period, beating Varlamov with a slap from the right circle.
The islanders were not done fighting.
Nelson appeared to catch Hart off guard with a stopwatch between circles with 4:14 left in regulation, and Brassard sent him into overtime with a goal on a nifty Cal Clutterbuck wire.
Varlamov stopped 29 shots but had no chance on Laughton redirecting in traffic.
“We came back to the game; we showed character and it could have happened both ways, ”said Brassard. “It wasn’t our night and we’ll be focusing on what we need to do in the next few days. ”
Islanders center Mathew Barzal took a stick in the face in the third period and didn’t come back. Flyers forward Sean Couturier also left the game early after a collision in the second period.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.