Flyers Complete Another Comeback, Defeat Islanders
It could have been utter disaster. Just hours after signing a long-term extension, Steve Mason sat on the bench after allowing four goals.
Slovakian Olympian and current offensive dynamo Andrej Meszaros had tied the game with two swift first period goals to tie an early deficit. Adam Hall had given the Flyers a 3-2 lead. It should not have been disaster.
Two bang-bang Islanders goals later, Mason saw Ray Emery skate past him onto the ice to take his spot in the Flyers crease.
However, as they had done eight times prior this season, the Flyers had erased a third period deficit to defeat the New York Islanders 6-4 on Saturday night in a wild affair. This game marked their ninth comeback, setting a new team record.
Incredibly enough, 11 of the last 15 Flyers wins have involved coming back from a deficit.
"We knew we didn't have a good first period," Meszaros said. "I don't think it was [Mason's] fault for all of those goals."
"We're not going to [come back] all the time. We know we have to bear down defensively."
John Tavares and Cal Clutterbuck scored first period goals for the Islanders. Brock Nelson and Brian Strait added two more goals in the second period. If not for a goaltender interference call, Tavares could have added a second goal and changed this game's complexion completely.
Seemingly flat defensively, allowing odd-man rush after odd-man rush, head coach Craig Berube pulled the goalie swap trigger to wake up his team.
"Victim," head coach Craig Berube described the embattled Mason on this night.
Even if Mason bailed out his teammates on numerous occasions up 3-2 in the second period, even if he had signed a $21 million deal just hours before, it was all about finding a way to change the momentum.
It worked like a charm. Disaster averted.
"We made a lot of mistakes out there," Giroux said. "We need to do a better job."
The Flyers outshot the Islanders 14-2, outscoring them 3-0 in the third period. After several chances from Michael Raffl, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, Giroux pulled off a twisting backhand feed to a cutting Voracek who slammed a loose puck past Islanders starter Kevin Poulin to tie the game.
Poulin, starting in place of injured Evgeni Nabokov, had previously won four of his last five decisions. He could not come up with a big save in the third period to cement a win for his team.
Four minutes remained in the third period in a game truly up for grabs. Then Giroux sent another delicious backhand dish to Raffl trailing the play, who snapped the puck past Poulin to take the lead.
Matt Read cemented another seemingly unlikely victory for the Orange and Black with an empty net goal.
After seeing the Rangers win earlier in the day, their tenth win in 14 games, the Flyers needed to win to keep pace in their division. They did just that, staying in second place with a game in hand.
Perhaps they just didn't think it would be this hard to stay ahead.