The Philadelphia Flyers dug deep on Friday night to overcome a one-goal deficit in the third period and defeat the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1, at PNC Arena. Spectacular goaltending from Carter Hart was the biggest difference.
The Flyers were massively outplayed in the opening period but the game remained scoreless at intermission.Steven Lorentz (2nd goal of the season) broke the deadlock shortly past the midway mark of regulation. The Flyers caught a break when a would-be Carolina goal on the next shift was overturned on a challenge for offside.
Philly's long scoreless drought ended early in the third period, courtesy of Joel Farabee (4th). Zack MacEwen (1st goal as a Flyer) then tallied a deflection goal for the game-winning tally.
Hart cranked out one of the best performances of his still-young NHL career. The Flyers netminder turned back 39 of 40 shots to earn the win. Carolina counterpart Frederik Andersen (26 saves on 28 shots) played well enough to win on most nights but Hart simply wouldn't allow his team to lose.
The Flyers came up with 18 blocked shots in the game to give Hart some timely assistance. The team got outplayed for long stretches but kept battling and came out with a big push early in the third period, a vital penalty kill and a bend-but-don't-break closeout. Hart took care of the rest.
This game was another rough one for the Flyers' power play. The Flyers not only went 0-for-5 on the man advantage but Carolina actually had superior shorthanded scoring chances to anything the Flyers generated. The Flyers penalty kill, courtesy of Hart and some timely blocks, went 5-for-5 against a Carolina power play that moved the puck well.
The third period was gut-check time for the Flyers. They trailed 2-1, having been outplayed for most of the first two periods. Entering the game, Carolina had only yielded three opposition third period goals through the first 11 games.
To their credit, the Flyers came out with a push to tie the game on Farabee's goal and then get a goal from the fourth line to take the only lead they'd hold or need in the game.
At 10:20, MacEwen's deflection of a Braun shot from the right point produced a change-up of a redirect that Andersen had little chance to stop. Patrick Brown got the secondary assist for his first goal as a Flyer. The sequence started with the Flyers winning a puck battle and keeping the puck in the attack zone.
1) Carter Hart was pretty much the only reason the Flyers got the game to the first intermission scoreless. Hart made 13 saves, including a couple of point blank chances for Sebastian Aho and a shorthanded breakaway by Jordan Staal (exiting the box right after a fruitless Flyers 5-on-3 became a 5-on-4) before the buzzer.
2) The attention to detail just wasn't there for the Flyers in the first period. They had trouble exiting the defensive zone and, after the early minutes, entering the offensive zone, too. The Flyers lost 16 of 20 faceoffs in the opening stanza (including Sean Couturier going 0-for-5 and Claude Giroux going 0-for-3). Some of the issue stemmed from the other Flyers skaters not helping effectively when there a puck up for grabs off the draw.
The Canes' two abbreviated power plays were a constant threat while the Flyers could barely even get entry and spent most of the time retreating 200 feet on cleared-out pucks. When the Flyers did get set up, they had no traffic and Andersen had a clear sight of the puck.The Flyers' woes included losing an offensive zone faceoff during a 5-on-3.
3) The Flyers got off to a strong start in the second period but ended up having to nurse -- barely -- the game to the second intermission down by a 1-0 score. For the first portion of the period, the Flyers had an edge but the tide turned in a big way. By the end, the Flyers were outshot (15-7) in the frame and Hart almost singlehandedly kept the game within reach, along with a few vital shot blocks. Philly improved on the faceoff circle (winning 14 and losing 10).
Philly's best chance of the second period was a 2-on-1 in which Derick Brassard fed Oskar Lindblom in the right slot after an Anthony DeAngelo turnover. Lindblom's shot went off the side of the net. Another Carolina turnover resulted in a scoring opportunity for Cam Atkinson from the slot. Andersen made the save.
4) At 11:14, Lorentz batted an aerial puck into the net. Assists went to Jesper Fast and Jordan Staal. The sequence started with a Couturier turnover.
The Canes seemingly scored again on the very next shift on a chaotic play where an initial shot hit the crossbar, a loose stick ended up in the net and then a Seth Jarvis follow-up bounced into the net. Fortunately for the Flyers, Jarvis went off-side on the zone entry and the would-be goal was disallowed after a challenge by the Philadelphia bench.
Hart was like a whirling dervish in the net as the Flyers spent much of the latter part of the frame killing off penalties -- including a lengthy 6-on-4 segment during a delayed high-sticking penalty on Joel Farabee.
5) The Flyers started the third period with James van Riemsdyk on the Couturier line and Farabee on the Laughton line. Farabee had a prime early scoring chance and there was a scramble around the net. It was all Flyers for the first five-plus minutes.
At 4:06, the Flyers drew even, and it started with defensive puck support deep in the defensive zone and a perfect exit pass by Ristolainen. Laughton made a long bank pass and Farabee received it and slid it home through the five-hole as Andersen opened his pads. It was Farabee's first goal since the third game of the season.
At 10:20, MacEwen scored his first goal as a Flyer and it came at a crucial time. His deflection of a Braun shot from the right point produced a change-up of a redirect that Andersen had little chance to stop. Patrick Brown got the secondary assist for his first goal as a Flyer.
With 9:05 in the third period, Konecny was called for interference in the neutral zone. The crossbar, a 10-bell save by Hart and a shot block by Provorov got Philly through the kill.
With 5:53 remaining the Flyers got a power play after Brassard was slashed by Trochek in the neutral zone. The Flyers went with a four-forward, one-D setup, holding a one-goal lead. The results were nearly disastrous.Philly generated no chances of note. Meanwhile, Hart had to deny a two-on-1 and then a point-blank chance for Jordan Martinook.
Carolina had a few more cracks late at re-tying the game, including a 6-on-5 assault with Andersen pulled for an extra attacker. Two late glove saves by Hart, including one on the deadly Andrei Svechnikov, and a final zone clear by Rasmus Ristolainen sealed the 2-1 win.