Just call them the Overtime Kids.
For the third time in their playoff series with the Islanders, the Flyers scored in sudden-death on Thursday night, grabbing a 5-4 victory in double overtime.
The victory ties the best-of-seven series at 3-3. Game 7 is Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.
Ivan Provorov scored the winning goal at 15:03 of the second overtime.
Provorov connected off a pass from Kevin Hayes, who began a rush after New York defenseman Scott Mayfield broke his stick.
The Flyers were inspired in this game by the return of Oskar Lindblom, making his first appearance in an NHL game since Dec. 7, 2019 when he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
Somehow, some way, the Flyers have lived to see another day.
Despite a shopping list of errors which included untimely turnovers, bad penalties and even an ill-advised coach’s challenge, the Flyers managed to win this game.
Scott Laughton’s goal at 9:53 of the third period tied the score at 4-4. Laughton, who scored the overtime winner in Game 5, took a pass in stride from Claude Giroux, raced in on goalie Semyon Varlamov and scored his fifth goal of the postseason.
The Flyers took an early 2-0 lead on goals by Hayes and James van Riemsdyk.
Although the Islanders would come back to take leads of 3-2 and 4-3, the Flyers found a way to win.
“There’s no doubt this wasn’t one of our better games,’’ Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “But at the end of the day we found a way to get the job done, found a way to come back in the third against a team that doesn’t give up a lot of leads.
“If somebody would have asked me at the beginning of the series against such a strong opponent, one game winner take all, I would have taken that.’’
After the Flyers took their 2-0 lead, the wheels started to come off.
First, Nicolas Aube-Kubel took a needless mid-zone slashing penalty at 14:30. The New York power play had just ended but Aube-Kubel didn’t have time to get back in the play as New York scored at 16:33, with Derick Brassard getting a shot past goalie Carter Hart.
The second period was just underway when Matt Martin scored at 1:24 after a Justin Braun shot was blocked in the attack zone, leading to an Islander rush. Martin’s shot deflected off Braun into the net.
However, Vigneault chose to challenge the play, presumably because New York’s Casey Cizikas slid into Hart.
Officials said no, allowed the goal to stand and the Flyers were assessed a penalty.
“The replays that I was seeing, I thought he (Cizikas) had pushed Carter,’’ Vigneault said. “I saw a late replay from behind. So that’s my fault.’’
On the ensuing power play, the Islanders scored again. This time, Matthew Barzal’s shot bounced off Hart and Anders Lee cleaned up the rebound at 3:06 to make it 3-2 New York.
The Flyers rallied on a goal by Raffl at 13:21. Aube-Kubel’s shot appeared to hit Raffl at the goalmouth. He garnered the loose puck and drove it past goalie Semyon Varlamov before he could react.
Then came the bad turnover of the game.
Bressard raced behind Flyer defenseman Travis Sanheim, stripped him of the puck and passed to Barzal, who snapped a shot over Hart’s right shoulder with just 29.2 seconds to play in the period.
Early on, the Flyers got off to a bit of a slow start, not getting a shot for the first eight minutes. But Hayes broke through at 10:16, finishing off a give-and-go play with Travis Konecny.
Then van Riemsdyk connected at 11:53. Jake Voracek provided the entry pass. JVR took a slap shot from the left circle and beat Varlamov far side.
The Flyers were without Sean Couturier, who was injured in the second period of Game 5.
Hart said the pressure of the overtime didn’t really bother him.
“We’ve had two other games in overtime,’’ he said. “That was the message in the locker room (after regulation time), don’t change anything. Just play our game and that’s what we did.’’
Captain Claude Giroux praised his team’s persistence. The Flyers may have made some mistakes but they didn’t get rattled.
“There were a lot of emotions,’’ he said. “We were up two-nothing, they came back 3-2, we tied it up, they get another one and we tied it up. In overtime there were chances on both sides. Carter made some huge saves and I was pretty glad to see Provy’s shot go in there.’’
Provorov was all smiles in the post-game press briefing. He’s been in on the winning goal in each of the last two games.
“I knew the defenseman broke his stick and I was joining the rush,’’ Provorov explained. “Their forward was sliding into the lane, so I shot it the opposite side, top corner and got it there.
“The boys have done a great job just sticking with it, playing our game. Not overreacting when we would give up a goal. We battled hard. We stuck with it and got the win.’’
Raffl had four goals in eight postseason games. . .Lindblom and Raffl filled in for Couturier and Joel Farabee, who was a healthy scratch. . .Once again the Flyers’ power play failed to score and does not have a goal in this series.
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