The Islanders, along with the Golden Knights and Stars, were up 3-1 in Round 2 then gave up 2 straight wins to their opponent that forced Game 7. Luckily, all three were able to finish the series and find themselves one step closer to the Stanley Cup.
After two straight overtime losses to the Philadelphia Flyers, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz decided to make some lineup changes, with one of them putting Thomas Greiss in the net for Game 7, giving him his first career Game 7 start, and scratching Leo Komarov for Michael Dal Colle. For the Philadelphia Flyers, they were able to have Sean Couturier back in the lineup after missing Game 6 due to an injury.
In the first period, the Islanders showed dominance over the Flyers following a holding penalty on Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The first goal for the Islanders came from Scott Mayfield, his first goal of the postseason, 9:27 into the game following a tough ending to Game 6 when his stick broke, allowing Ian Provorov to take advantage and score the overtime game-winning goal. 4 minutes later, Andy Greene found the puck from Derick Brassard and Brock Nelson to score his second goal of the postseason after his first came in Game 1 of the same series.
The Islanders continued their momentum into the second period and halfway through, Brock Nelson got the wrist shot from Josh Bailey for his 7th goal of the postseason to extend the Islanders’ lead to 3. Along with their offense, the defense stepped up to keep the Flyers scoreless throughout the game, including a huge save from Thomas Greiss with 4:50 left in the second on Kevin Hayes’ wrist shot.
With a 3-0 lead entering the third period, the Islanders found themselves closer to winning Round 2 over the top-seeded Philadelphia Flyers. With less than 10 minutes left to in the third, the Flyers’ desperation started to show when their goalie Carter Hart was pulled to try a man-up on an empty net. Unfortunately, they could not find any answer and Anthony Beauvillier took advantage by adding his 8th goal of the postseason on the empty net, all but securing the Game 7 victory for the New York Islanders and the Islanders’ second shutout win in the same series.
Barry Trotz’s decision to have Thomas Greiss make his first career Game 7 start appeared to be the correct call, as he did not allow any shots on goal to make it inside the puck, saving all 16 shots on goal. For Carter Hart, he allowed one less goal than he did the last game, but with no goals for Philadelphia, he could not pick up his 10th win of the postseason while Greiss not only got his second win in the postseason but also got his first career playoff shutout victory in his first Game 7 start.
With the Game 7 win, the New York Islanders advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1993, and will face the 2-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night at 8 pm at Rogers Place in Edmonton, where the Conference and Stanley Cup Finals will take place from here on out. In the last playoff meeting, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Islanders in the second round in the 2016 playoffs 4 games to 1. During the 2019-20 regular season, the Islanders went 2-1 over the Lightning as New York will look to continue their playoff run and try to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1984 when they last won it all. For Tampa Bay, they’ll try to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in franchise history.