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New York Islanders

Playoff Gameday: Islanders Expecting Desperate Flyers Team in Game 5

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New York Islanders celebrate goal

The New York Islanders can punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1993 with a win tonight in Game 5. The only thing standing in their way: The Philadelphia Flyers.

Up 3-1 in the Second Round Series, the Islanders fully understand that the Flyers will be as desperate as they come to keep their season alive and buck history. The Flyers are 1-17 all-time when they trail a series 3-1, according to Eric Hornick, while the Islanders are a perfect 10-0.

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“They’re obviously desperate. They’re going to bring their best game and you have to match that desperation with the same intensity,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “The same determination to get the fourth win. The fourth win is always the toughest. It’s the one that you have to go through. No one is going to give it to you. You can’t go around it, you have to go through it, and have that little bit of killer instinct.”

The Flyers have jumped out to quick starts during the series against the Islanders and New York has had to battle back from deficits in two of the four games so far. While the Flyers scoring has been limited, they have created chances and forced Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss to make some tough saves.

The focus for tonight will be preventing them from generating too many chances early on.

“They have a lot of skill up front,” Ryan Pulock said. “It’s going to be important for us tonight to be hard in our D zone. All five guys and kind of end their cycle game. Just be smart in the neutral zone. Not letting guys behind you. They like to flip it a bit and they like to stretch the zone a bit.

“It’s going to be important that we’re aware of that and just keeping your play in front of you.”

Tonight’s game comes with plenty of significance for the New York Islanders, who will move on to the conference finals for the first time in 27 years with a win. It will be the furthest that several of the longest-tenured Islanders will have gone in the playoffs.

That certainly has the fans licking their chops and could be an easy distraction for the players on the ice if they let their imagination get ahead of themselves. Anders Lee said that the chance to move to the conference finals for the first time since 1993 is very special, but the team is focused on just one game at a time.

Islanders Goalies Have Full Trust of Trotz and Team

“For today it’s all about tonight,” Lee said. “Those (accomplishments) will come if we take care of business at the right time. In a playoff run like this, it’s hard not to, at times, to daydream and to have wonderful thoughts, but you have a task at hand that day. You can’t get ahead of yourself because there is too much competition on either side to really look forward at all.

“That day to day grind and focus is extremely important.”

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers will do their best to change the course of history tonight, or at the very least extend the series one more game. Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault said his team had a “great opportunity” tonight.

“This game in front of us should bring out the best in players,” Vigneault said. “I’m confident with our group. We responded well. We responded well last game. We didn’t get the win, but we played well enough to win.”

Vigneault wouldn’t give too much details about his lineup tonight, but there is a chance there could be a lineup change. However, it most likely won’t be Oskar Lindblom. He will take warmups with the team though.

Game Notes

Josh Bailey tied Derek King for most assists in a single postseason when he picked up his 10th and 11th in Game 4. King set the record during the 1984-85 postseason. … Jean-Gabriel Pageau tied Anthony Beauvillier for the team lead in goals this postseason when he recorded his seventh goal on Sunday in Game 4. … The Islanders have been a perfect 10-0 when allowing two or fewer goals in the playoffs this year. … The Flyers’ 38 shots on net in Game 4 was the highest they’ve recorded this postseason. … Philadelphia is 8-1 when scoring the game’s first goal in the playoffs this year. Game 4 was the first time they lost after scoring the opening goal. … The Flyers are 36-27 all-time in Game 5s.

How to Watch

Locally the game will air on NBCSN. On the radio dial, the game will air on 98.7 FM ESPN New York, 88.7 FM WRHU and 103.9 FM LI News Radio.

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New York Islanders

Three Takeaways: Dobson, Bellows Look Good, Barzal Finds Two-Way Game in Win | NYHN+

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New York Islanders players

The New York Islanders started off the 2020-21 NHL season off on the right foot Thursday night with a 4-0 win over the New York Rangers.

The Islanders capitalized on the power play on several occasions, they received timely goaltending when they needed it and their top-six forwards found the back of the net. Not to mention, the play of several young Islanders hoping to maintain their spots on the roster.

Let’s take a look at three takeaways from the Islanders’ season-opening win over their Manhattan rivals:

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New York Islanders

GARDEN PARTY: Lee, Barzal Lead Islanders Shutout Thrashing of Rangers

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New York Islanders Anders lee Mathew Barzal

The New York Islanders will take a start like that any day.

The Islanders scored three times in the first period, anchored by goals from Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal, and kicked off the 2020-21 season with a 4-0 win over the New York Rangers. Brock Nelson also scored for the Islanders on Thursday.

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“I think we just wanted to start on the right foot and get to our game early,” Lee said. “Find that momentum by playing the way we play and I think we did a pretty good of that. It was the result of a good camp and everyone being ready for tonight, and Varly playing a great game as well. Just a good team effort.”

The season-opening win was anchored by a strong effort in the first and third period by the Isles, and a good performance in the net when they needed it from Semyon Varlamov. It was the 10th consecutive opening night start and second with the Islanders for Varlamov, who finished the night with 24 saves.

The opening night shutout was the Isles’ first since Chico Resch accomplished the feat in 1976 against Philadelphia.

“It’s always easy to play like that when we score first,” Varlamov said. “Overall I’m pretty happy with how we did today. I thought the team played very well.”

The Islanders finished the night with 33 shots on net, while holding the young Rangers to 24 shots.

The Isles special teams unit got plenty of work to start the season, with the Rangers giving the Islanders eight power-play chances on Thursday. They capitalized on two of their chances.

It didn’t take long for the Islanders to find the back of the net on Thursday night. It was a mere 2:33 into the game when Nelson lit the lamp for the first of four goals on the evening from the Long Island visitors.

The goal was the fourth fastest the Islanders have scored in a season-opening game in franchise history.

Anthon Beauvillier went for a shot inside the faceoff circle, but had it redirect off the skate of Adam Fox and went right to Nelson in the slot. Nelson quickly put it past Igor Shesterkin for the Isles’ first power-play goal of the year.

Just over a minute later, the Isles struck paydirt again. After Lee took a stick up high he stayed on the ice and after a Rangers turnover was able to create a two-on-one. The Islanders captain fired a shot of the New York goalie’s arm and in for his first of two goals on Thursday.

“I was a little upset. Took one to the teeth and I was making my way back,” Lee said about the goal. “I kind of got lucky that the puck got to Ledds and I could kind of take a chance on hoping that that one got out. He made a great play getting the puck down and it came right to me.”

Barzal capped off a strong first for the Isles with an impressive goal to make it 3-0 after weaving by three Rangers.

Despite a Rangers push in the second, the Islanders were the ones to add a goal in the third. Jordan Eberle threw the puck towards the net and Lee redirected the puck in the slot for his second of the night.

The goal was officially credited to Eberle, but video evidence clearly shows the puck was tipped by Lee.

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New York Islanders

County Exec Laura Curran Cheering on New York Islanders from Quarantine

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Nassau County Exec Laura Curran

As the New York Islanders open their season this evening many Islanders fans will be watching the game from home, which includes Nassau County’s most influential fan of the team county executive Laura Curran.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran will be watching the Islanders battle the New York Rangers from quarantine after she was recently exposed to someone with COVID-19. Curran tweeted out a video this afternoon about her excitement for being able to watch the season opener in its entirety.

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“I guess the small silver lining of quarantine is that I get I watch TV tonight,” Curran said in the video. “And that means I get to watch the entire Islanders game.  Game one,  taking on the Rangers, 7 p.m. puck drops. I am ready.”

Curran’s office announced that the county executive had been exposed to COVID-19 on Wednesday night and she is at the beginning of a 10-day quarantine. Officials from the county executive’s office declined to disclose to Newsday where Curran had been exposed to the virus for privacy reasons.

Curran has been an unabashed fan of the Islanders and today was the second time in five days the Nassau County politician tweeted about the Islanders. The county executive tweeted “YES! YES! YES!” along with a GIF of Mathew Barzal following news that the Islanders star had re-signed for three years with the team on Saturday.

Curran has been a vocal supporter of the UBS Arena project at Belmont Park and of getting the Islanders back on Long Island before the opening of UBS Arena in the fall. Curran twice lobbied NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to allow the Islanders to play at Nassau Coliseum before their new home opens.

In 2019, Curran wrote to Bettman to help persuade him to allow the Islanders to play home playoff games on Long Island. The NHL eventually came to an agreement that allowed the Islanders to play their first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nassau Coliseum and then after that all home postseason games would move to Barclays Center.

Last year, she called on Bettman again to allow the Islanders to play their final full season before UBS Arena at the Coliseum. The NHL eventually allowed the Islanders to do so after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped in.

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