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Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brock Nelson get in on act as Islanders dominate third period again

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 30: Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 30: Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 of the New York Islanders scores a goal past Brian Elliott #37 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 30, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images/Elsa

Sometimes they start fast and sometimes they don’t. But the one thing the Islanders can count on in these playoffs is that they always finish strong.

Barry Trotz’s team has simply owned the third period in this postseason, outlasting teams and wearing them down. They did it again Sunday, dominating the final 20 minutes against the Philadelphia Flyers and bullying their way to a 3-2 victory in Game 4 for a 3-1 lead in their second-round series in Toronto.

Throughout this postseason in the Toronto bubble, the Islanders have outscored their opponents 19-5 in the third period, including 8-1 in this series. Sunday’s game was tied at 1-1 entering the third until goals by Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brock Nelson (his second of the game) opened a 3-1 lead. The Flyers, with goalie Brian Elliott pulled, got their first third-period goal of the series with 1:05 remaining to make it 3-2, but the Islanders ran out the clock from there. On one play, defenseman Scott Mayfield pinned the puck in the corner for more than 20 seconds.

“There was a minute to go after they made it 3-2,’’ a proud Trotz said. “And they really didn’t have anything after that. And that is how you win. That is a commitment level you need. And you know that battle in the corner for 25 seconds. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but when everybody’s pulling on you and you have to hold on with all your might.”

Pageau has been one of the big reasons for the Islanders’ ability to win the third period in the postseason. Always known as a big-time playoff performer with Ottawa, he came to the Islanders before the trade deadline for first- and second-round picks in 2020 and a third-rounder in 2022. Then he signed a six-year contract extension worth $30 million. His goal Sunday was his seventh of the postseason and his third in the series against the Flyers — all in the third period.

“I can’t say enough good things about him as a person and as a player,’’ Josh Bailey said. “He’s really brought a lot to our dressing room [and] I think, really rounded out our forward group . . . one of those guys you can put in any situation. The moment’s never too big, and he’s found a way to just keep producing and score some timely goals for us.’’

Said Pageau, “I thought everyone showed up in the third period and brought their best, and that’s why we came out on top.

“And the team is really good in the third period.’’

New York Sports