By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
It had the potential to be a crushing loss. The Flyers came out with a strong first period and took it to the Islanders, announcing their presence in the series.
Then the Islanders slowly started to claw their way back and eventually erased a three-goal deficit to force overtime. The Flyers turned to one of their rookies to finish the job.
Phil Myers fired a shot past Thomas Greiss to finish off a 4-3 Flyers win in overtime, evening the series with the Islanders at one game apiece.
The Islanders got a lot of zone time early, but the Flyers were able to strike first and strike early. Claude Giroux won a defensive zone face-off and Justin Braun was able to flip the puck ahead to Travis Konecny to start a three-on-two. Konecny fed Kevin Hayes entering the zone and Hayes was left with space and fired a shot off the post and in to beat Semyon Varlamov to make it 1-0 just 1:57 into the game.
Hayes was at it again at 9:43. After a clear by Myers, Joel Farabee helped the Flyers win a puck battle in the neutral zone by taking Ryan Pulock off the puck. That left it free for Hayes, who moved in on a two-on-one with Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Hayes out-waited Adam Pelech and used Aube-Kubel as a decoy before snapping a shot short side on Varlamov to make it 2-0.
With just under five minutes left in the period, Sean Couturier announced his presence in the series. Travis Sanheim made an outlet pass up the middle that Giroux tipped ahead to Couturier. Couturier was one-on-one with Nick Leddy, and put a move on the veteran defenseman to get around him and in on goal. Varlamov went down and Couturier tucked it home for his first goal of the playoffs to make it 3-0.
That ended the afternoon for Varlamov, who set an Islanders record for longest playoff shutout streak 40 seconds into the game. He allowed three goals on 10 shots.
Through 20 minutes, the Flyers had an 11-7 lead in shots.
For the early part of the second period, the Flyers kept the pressure on and controlled the possession game, but the Islanders started to get their legs late and got some life with the help of the power play.
On their first power play opportunity of the game, it took the Islanders just 17 seconds to cash in with Mathew Barzal setting up Anders Lee for the deflection to cut the lead to two.
The Islanders kept the pressure on from there, and turned it into another power play with 36 seconds left in the period. Through two periods, the Flyers had a 20-18 lead in shots.
For the first few minutes of the third, the Flyers played the shut down game they did in most third periods of the playoffs, limiting the Islanders chances. But as the period wore on, the Islanders continued to get their legs, and finally cashed in on a transition play.
Anthony Beauvillier scored off the rush to cut the Flyers lead to one with 8:49 remaining, giving the Islanders more life.
From there, they just continued to push, and a failed clear allowed the Islanders to tie the game late. Sanheim had time behind the net and tried to bank it off the boards and out of the zone. It stayed in the zone as Couturier and Pelech battled and went right to Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the slot. He beat Hart with a rising shot to tie the game at three with 2:09 remaining in the third.
The Flyers challenged the call on the ice for offside, but the call stood and the Flyers were charged with a delay of game penalty. They were able to kill it off and force overtime, but the three-goal lead from the first was gone.
It took just 2:41 of overtime for the game to be decided. Moments after Couturier lifted a shot over the net, but stayed with the play and got the puck back to the point where Myers fired a shot that beat Greiss to give the Flyers the win.
Hayes and Couturier finished the game with two points each. Hart made 31 saves in the win. Greiss finished with 20 saves on 21 shots.
It's a quick turnaround to Game 3, which will be tomorrow night at 7 p.m.