It took 27 years, but the New York Islanders advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1993 on Saturday night with a 4-0 Game 7 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
It was as dominating of a performance as one could imagine in a Game 7 by New York. The Islanders controlled the pace of play for the better part of the 60-minute contest and held the Flyers to just 16 shots on net. It was the fewest the Islanders have allowed all postseason.
“I thought we wore a lot of their people down,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “Especially on the back end. I liked the way we played. I liked our mentality today and we stayed to our identity. We just wanted to play well on the right side of people. Two defensemen scored, some really good play, good goaltending and our specials teams were pretty good.
“You have a chance to win when you play like that.”
— Greg Picker (@GregPickerHere) September 6, 2020
The New York Islanders now have a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning for a chance to play for the Stanley Cup. The first game of the Eastern Conference Finals will take place on Monday at 8 p.m. in Edmonton.
Thomas Greiss made 16 saves in just his second start of the postseason and four different Islanders found the back of the net. Saturday was the second time Greiss has been in net for a historic playoff victory. He backstopped the Islanders to their first playoff series victory in 2016.
“It was an unreal game. It was the best defensive game I’ve ever seen the team play,” Thomas Greiss said. “They took most of the stuff away. Just helped me get the win.”
Scott Mayfield, Andy Green, Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier all scored for New York and Josh Bailey picked up his 14th assist of the postseason. Bailey’s 14 assists are the most by an Islanders player in the post-cup era, according to statistician Eric Hornick.
— Andrew Battifarano (@AndrewAtBatt) September 5, 2020
Mayfield put the Islanders on the board first at 9:27 of the first period. The Islanders defenseman took a pass from Devon Toews and then glided before firing the puck into the corner of the net for his first career playoff goal.
The first-period goal also helped exercise some of the demons from Game 6. It was Mayfield’s stick that broke and led to the game-winning goal for Philadelphia.
The Islanders made it 2-0 off a goal from Greene moments later. Derick Brassard set up Greene with a fantastic fake shot and then found the defenseman with a cross-ice pass for the game’s second tally.
Nelson put the Islanders ahead by three with a fantastic two-way effort that ended with his seventh goal of the playoffs. Nelson forced a turnover by Claude Giroux with his backchecking and then Josh Bailey found him on the other end of the ice for the near empty-net goal.
— Andrew Battifarano (@AndrewAtBatt) September 6, 2020
“Whenever you have a lead you can’t sit back,” Nelson said. “It was nice to get that third one and go up a bit more. Greisser had a couple of big stops to keep them at zero and keep it a 1-0, 2-0. Then getting that one definitely gives you a little bit more of a cushion. I thought we did a good job of staying on, not sitting back and waiting for a wave from them.”
Beauvillier capped the game with an empty-net goal at 13:42 of the third period. It was his eighth goal of the playoffs.