NEW YORK (AP) - John Tavares tied it in the final minute of regulation and scored the winner at 10:41 of the second overtime, leading the New York Islanders past the Florida Panthers 2-1 Sunday night and into the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
Tavares skated in and fired an initial shot that Roberto Luongo saved, but the New York captain got the rebound, wrapped around the net and stuffed the puck in to end the longest home game in Islanders history.
The Islanders will next face Tampa Bay.
Thomas Greiss finished with 41 saves in the teams’ second straight two-overtime game and third in the series to go past regulation. The Islanders won Game 3 here 4-3 in the first extra period, and took Game 5 in Florida 2-1 at 16 minutes of the second OT.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored late in the first period for Florida, and Luongo stopped 49 shots for the Panthers.
CAPITALS 1, FLYERS 0
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Nicklas Backstrom scored, Braden Holtby had 26 saves, and the Washington Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Capitals, who won the series in six games, will play the Pittsburgh Penguins, setting up a marquee matchup of Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby.
Ovechkin had an assist on Backstrom’s second-period goal that was easily enough against the punchless Flyers. Riding the momentum of Michal Neuvirth in net, the Flyers won two straight to force an unlikely trip home. Neuvirth was sensational again, but the Flyers were ultimately doomed by a power play that could not cash in against Holtby. The Flyers wasted nearly 2 minutes of a 5-on-3 power play in the second period that made a critical difference.
STARS 5, WILD 4
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Jason Spezza scored his fourth goal of the series and added three assists, and goalie Kari Lehtonen and the Dallas Stars needed every last one of them to hold off the Minnesota Wild to wrap up the first-round series in six games.
Jared Spurgeon scored two of Minnesota’s four third-period goals and the Wild came within a fraction of an inch of tying it with 34 seconds remaining when Nino Niederreiter whacked at a loose puck in the crease. Freeze-frame replays showed it in the net, but not quite fully across the goal line as it connected with Lehtonen’s right pad, an oh-so-close call that was upheld by review.
John Klingberg, Patrick Sharp, Jamie Benn and Alex Goligoski also scored for the Stars, who moved on to face the winner of the Chicago-St. Louis series, which is tied at 3. The Blues host the Blackhawks in their decisive Game 7 on Monday night.
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