Jean Gabriel Pageau scored the go-ahead goal 7:18 into the third period and the New York Islanders moved within one win of advancing to the Eastern Conference final with a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night.
Brock Nelson scored twice, both set up by Josh Bailey, and the Islanders gained a 3-1 lead of the best-of-seven second-round series with Game 5 set for Tuesday night. New York is seeking to make its first conference final appearance since 1993, when the Islanders lost to Montreal to six games.
Backup goalie Thomas Greiss stopped 36 shots in making his first start of the playoffs in a game both teams rested their starters while playing on consecutive nights. Playing in place of Semyon Varlamov, it was Greiss’s first start since a 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina on March 7, and his second appearance this post-season.
Sean Couturier and Ivan Provorov scored for the East’s top-seeded Flyers, who were coming off a 3-1 loss on Saturday. Philadelphia lost consecutive games for the first time since an 0-3-1 skid from Dec. 31-Jan. 7.
Though Provorov scored with 64 seconds left and the Flyers net empty, Philadelphia managed just one more shot on net, as the Islanders controlled the puck in their own corner for much of the final 20 seconds.
Philadelphia’s Brian Elliott stopped 30 shots in place of Carter Hart. It was Elliott’s third appearance this post-season, and second start after he stopped 16 shots in a 3-1 win over Washington in a preliminary round-robin game on Aug. 6.
The Flyers’ offence has essentially dried up, with captain Claude Giroux having yet to score this post-season. After combining for 11 goals in sweeping the top-seeded playoff-opening round-robin series, Philadelphia has managed just 18 in its past 10 games.