Nick Leddy lifts Islanders past Flyers, 5-4 on OT
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — It might only be late November, but New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy knows that winning divisional series can go a long way toward making the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“It’s huge, it’s a couple extra points that they don’t get,” Leddy said after scoring 2:44 into overtime to give the Islanders a 5-4 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, their second straight overtime win over their Metropolitan Divisional rivals.
“Every game is so tight with the Metro Division and we look at all the teams and they’re all so close, so every point is huge.”
Rookie Mathew Barzal, Cal Clutterbuck, Jordan Eberle and Andrew Ladd scored in regulation and Thomas Greiss made 26 saves to help the Islanders win for the fifth time in six games. They moved six points ahead of the Flyers in the Metropolitan Division standings.
John Tavares picked up an assist on Leddy’s goal. He also assisted on Josh Bailey’s overtime winner on Wednesday night in Brooklyn. The Islanders improved to 3-2 in OTs.
“I don’t think there’s a guy other than, maybe (Connor) McDavid, that I would take Johnny over,” Barzal said. “Obviously, he’s one of the most skilled players in the league. I think we’ve got a really skilled team up front. I’ll take us 3-on-3 against anybody.”
Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Shayne Gostisbehere and Sean Couturier scored in the second period for the Flyers. They blew a 4-2 lead in the third to lose for the seventh straight time.
Elliott made 32 saves for Philadelphia, which has not won a game since Nov. 9 and has blown three two-goal leads in its past five games. The Flyers fell to 1-6 in overtimes this season.
“Right now it’s a tough time,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. “There’s still growth going on and that doesn’t always come easy. We’ve got to be up to that challenge mentally and physically, to come back and do a little bit better and stick together hard as a group and continue to push forward.”
Ladd tied it with 7:49 left, scoring off a pass from Eberle from about 5 feet in front of the crease.
The Islanders drew within a goal at 4:12 of the third on Eberle’s second power-play goal of the season. The goal came after it appeared Flyers right winger Jakub Voracek drew a hooking penalty on John Tavares. However, it was Voracek who went to the penalty box.
“I hooked the guy on his stick, I don’t think I got his gloves,” Voracek said. “I got called and he didn’t. These day, I don’t know what a penalty is.”
It was the ninth power-play goal allowed by the Flyers in five games and the sixth power-play goal scored by the Islanders in five games.
After Greiss stopped Flyers rookie Nolan Patrick on a penalty shot with just under 3 minutes remaining in the opening period, Barzal gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead with his sixth goal with 14.1 seconds remaining in the period.
The Flyers, who have not won a game since Nov. 9, took over in the second period, scoring four goals on seven shots. Giroux tied it with a one-timer from the high slot at 3:49 and Simmonds gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead when he put Gostisbehere’s rebound past Greiss for his first goal in 15 games.
Clutterbuck’s deflection goal, his fourth of the season, tied it at 2, but back-to-back goals by Gostisbehere and Couturier gave the Flyers a two-goal cushion. Gostisbehere’s goal, his second of the season, snapped a 13-game drought.
Couturier’s goal, his team-high 13th, came on an aggressive forecheck by Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov, who extended his points streak to four games.
NOTES: Flyers LW Claude Giroux has 600 points in 679 NHL games. ... Islanders LW Jason Chimera played in his 210th consecutive NHL game, the longest current streak on the club. ... The Flyers had three rookie defensemen in their lineup — Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin — with a combined 44 games of NHL experience.
Islanders: At Ottawa on Saturday night for their first game of the season against the Senators.
Flyers: At Pittsburgh on Monday night to face the Penguins for the first time this season.
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