Semyon Varlamov likely will get another chance to start a postseason shutout streak when the New York Islanders play the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Thursday in Toronto.
Varlamov started Game 2 on Wednesday afternoon, but he gave up three goals in the first 15:09 and was replaced by Thomas Greiss.
Greiss held the Flyers scoreless over the next two periods, giving the Islanders a chance to erase a three-goal deficit against Philadelphia for the second time this season. But Philippe Myers scored at 2:40 of overtime to lift the Flyers to a 4-3 win, evening the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
“A loss is a loss,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “We have to put it behind us, and we have to focus on (Thursday’s) game. It’s a swing game.”
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault was pleased with the way his players started Game 2 and how they didn’t sulk after giving up the three-goal lead.
“This group has been very competitive, very combative,” he said. “When we’ve lost a game, there’s been an extra sense of urgency and preparation.”
Philadelphia will be coming off its first overtime playoff game since a 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal on May 3, 2012.
Before this season, 2012 was also the last year the Flyers had won or led in a playoff series.
Varlamov had strung together a franchise-record postseason shutout streak of 138:17 before Kevin Hayes scored at 1:57 of the first period on Wednesday.
Varlamov allowed two more goals before Trotz decided to give him the rest of the day off.
“I was looking for a spark,” Trotz said. “I thought we didn’t help (Varlamov) enough. I was just looking for something a little different. Not his fault, we didn’t give him enough support.”
The Flyers tweaked their lineup for Game 2 with the additions of defenseman Robert Hagg and left winger James van Riemsdyk, who played well enough to likely earn another opportunity in Game 3.
Hagg finished plus-2 in Game 2 and delivered a team-high five hits. Hagg was plus-14 during the regular season, tied for fourth on the team.
Van Riemsdyk went without a point for the seventh straight playoff game, but his 19 goals and 21 assists during the regular season could give him the edge going forward over Scott Laughton, who was scratched in Game 2 after going without a point the previous seven games.
Laughton had opened the postseason with three goals and two assists in the three round-robin games, but he has not looked the same since the start of the first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens.
New York forward Anthony Beauvillier scored his seventh goal of the postseason on Tuesday, the most in a single playoff year by an Islander since Ray Ferraro had 13 and Steve Thomas had nine in 1993.
Islanders left winger Anders Lee, who also scored in Game 2, continues to have a solid postseason, owning five goals in the past seven games.
–Field Level Media