Flyers, Canucks stave off elimination in NHL playoffs

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Scott Laughton scored the winner in overtime and captain Claude Giroux rediscovered his scoring touch as the Philadelphia Flyers kept their NHL playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders.

Laughton scored on a tip from the front of the net that snuck past Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov as the Flyers cut New York's Eastern Conference series lead to three games to two.

Canadian forward Giroux snapped a 14-game goal drought, opening the scoring for the Flyers at 15:45 of the second period to tie it 1-1.

"In games like this, you need everyone pulling the rope and moving in the right direction," said Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk. "Everyone did their job and played their role tonight."

Philadelphia had a two-goal lead early in the third period but allowed the Islanders to claw their way back to force overtime.

Game six is Thursday in Toronto.

Giroux finished with a goal and an assist and netminder Carter Hart stopped 29 shots for the Flyers, who are trying to become the first team in 2020 postseason to come back from a 3-1 deficit. Six others tried in the first round but failed.

If anyone has the blueprint to rally from 3-1, it is Flyers coach Alain Vigneault. He's done it before, including guiding the New York Rangers back from 3-1 to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2014.

The Rangers did it again in 2015, when they stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Barry Trotz-coached Washington Capitals. Trotz now coaches the Islanders.

"They don't need me to motivate them," Vigneault said of the Flyers. "They're a group that motivates themselves. They're got a lot pride and a lot of compete."

Giroux and van Riemsdyk scored their first postseason goals after New York went up 1-0 on Josh Bailey's first-period strike. American Matt Niskanen scored early in the third period to give Philadelphia a 3-1 lead.

The Islanders didn't give up, tying it on goals by Brock Nelson and Derick Brassard 93 seconds apart in the third to set up the overtime.

In Edmonton, American goaltender Thatcher Demko won his first career playoff start as the Vancouver Canucks held on to beat the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in game five of their Western Conference series.

The 24-year old Demko made 42 saves, including several key ones in the final minutes, for the victory.

Vancouver stayed alive in the postseason, cutting the Golden Knights' lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser scored and J.T. Miller had two assists for Vancouver.