Scott Mayfield was feeling down after how Game 6 ended, but he more than turned things around with an impressive final game of the New York Islanders series with the Philadelphia Flyers.
The defenseman, whose broken stick led to Ivan Provorov’s game-winning tally Thursday night, got the Islanders on the board 9:27 into Game 7. His early strike helped the Islanders to a 4-0 series-clinching win over the Flyers.
With tired bodies on the ice in double overtime of Game 6, Devon Toews fed Mayfield at the right point. And as Mayfield attempted to pass the puck down to Mathew Barzal, his stick snapped and led directly to the rush and goal that ended the game.
But in Game 7, as the Islanders cycled the puck low to high to the point, Toews again made a pass to Mayfield on the right side.
— Andrew Battifarano (@AndrewAtBatt) September 5, 2020
This time, though, the right-handed Mayfield waited patiently for Anders Lee and Barzal to crash the net before rifling a shot from the faceoff dot. He picked the top left corner and Flyers goalie Carter Hart had no chance. Mayfield came into the night with four points in the playoffs but his biggest yet came via his first-ever playoff goal to help set the tone in a dominating shutout victory.
With a couple of laughs after the game, Mayfield said it would’ve been hard to predict him scoring the decisive goal in the clincher, but he was happy it happened.
“I was kind of down the last couple of days after breaking my stick there in overtime, so it’s a confidence boost,” Mayfield told reporters after the game. “Game-winner, Game 7 to go into the Eastern Conference Final, I don’t think anyone would think I’d be scoring it. But, I had a lane and I was happy I could put it away.”
Andy Greene added the team’s second goal of the first period, as the Islanders not only held the lead but kept the edge in shots 10-6 after one period. In his 26th playoff game, Mayfield aided the Islanders with his goal and his veteran presence on defense.
“I think it’s all learning, I think we’ve got some young guys on the team that haven’t been in certain situations,” Mayfield said. “I don’t think there’s too many guys (here) that have played a ton of Game 7s. It’s a special opportunity and we learn from it. The overtime losses I think hurt a little bit. It’s nice we came out flying and got the win today.”
Scott Mayfield played a complete game, registering two blocks and three hits. Yes there were two giveaways, but the defenseman more than made up for it. The 27-year-old and the rest of the defense clamped down to help the Islanders hold the Flyers to just 16 shots on goal for the entire game. And, according to Natural Stat Trick, Mayfield had three high danger chances. It was emblematic of the way the Islanders controlled the game from start to finish.
This came on the heels of an effort in which New York held Philadelphia to 31 shots over five-and-a-half periods of hockey in Game 6. Even after logging over 30 minutes Thursday, Mayfield came back Saturday and put in 20:17 of ice time. That includes 3:00 of time on the penalty kill, where he kept the Islanders at a perfect 2-for-2.
It’s been over five years since Scott Mayfield made his playoff and NHL debut, when he filled in at the blue line in Game 6 against the Washington Capitals in 2015. This isn’t his first rodeo in the playoffs, so Mayfield said he is able to keep calm in pressure situations. This time, it helped the Islanders advance to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in 27 years.
“I think when it comes down to it it’s just another hockey game,” he said. “It’s hard to say that, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t super nervous before the game. Once you hit the ice, you go through warmups, you kinda just get in the groove, you have your process. In the end, it’s just another hockey game.”
Full team 𝐞𝐟𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐭.
Full team 𝐰𝐢𝐧.
Full team 𝐜𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. pic.twitter.com/wGB3ha7XsG
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) September 6, 2020
Despite giving up nine goals over the previous two games, the Islanders kept the Flyers off the board, to bookend the series with shutouts.
It was a strong finish heading into Monday’s Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“I think we know how we want to play,” Mayfield said. “I think when we’re moving north, getting the puck in, being physical on the forecheck, not playing slow. We have a fast team, so playing fast. We have our identity, and that’s what we try to get to every game.
“It’s nice that we got that that identity pretty much right off the bat tonight and played a full 60 (minutes).”