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POSTGAME 5: Hell of a Flyers Effort in 6-1 Blowout of Devils

Make it three straight wins for the Philadelphia Flyers. On Tuesday, they trounced the New Jersey Devils, 6-1, at the Wells Fargo Center.

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer / philadelphiaflyers.com

Make it three straight wins for the Philadelphia Flyers. On Tuesday, they trounced the New Jersey Devils, 6-1, at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers jumped out early and built on it from there.Cam Atkinson led the way offensively with a hat trick and an assist.

With the win, the Flyers finished their three-game season series with the Devils at 1-2-0.

The Flyers dominated the first period, and were rewarded with a 2-0 lead. Travis Sanheim (1st goal of the season) and Cam Atkinson (4-on-4, 10th goal of the season) scored the goals.

In the second period, Justin Braun (2nd) made it 3-0 but the Devils soon got the goal back on a tally by PK Subban (2nd). In the latter stages of the period, Atkinson scored a shorthanded goal for his second marker of the night (11th of the season, 2nd SHG) and then fed Oskar Lindblom (2nd) to open a 5-1 lead.

Atkinson, who already had 4-on-4 and 4-on-5 goals to his credit on the night, notched a 5-on-5 goal in the third period to complete the hat trick (12th goal of the season). This extended the Flyers' lead to 6-1.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: The first hatty in Philly for @CamAtkinson89! #NJDvsPHI | #BringItToBroad pic.twitter.com/RrSnh3rlmr

Carter Hart had plenty of goal support on this night but was excellent in net when he had to be. This was especially true on a couple of penalty kills. Hart finished with 26 saves on 27 shots.

Mackenzie Blackwood played the first two periods in goal for the Devils. He yielded five tallies on 22 shots. Akira Schmid played the final 20 minutes, stopping seven of eight shots.

The Flyers did not receive any power plays in the game. They were 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, with the Atkinson shorthanded goal for good measure.

TURNING POINT

The Flyers controlled the first period to such a wide extent that the Devils would have considered it a good break if they exited down only 1-0 with 40 minutes left to get going. Atkinson's 4-on-4 goal to finish off a late-period tic-tac-toe passing sequence sent the Flyers to intermission having giving New Jersey a little steeper hill to climb.


MELTZER'S TAKE

1) Morgan Frost went up the tunnel after his third shift of the opening period. He did not appear to be injured but did not return to the game, Oskar Lindblom took his place on the second line with Claude Giroux and Cam Atkinson.

Sanheim made it 1-0 on a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle at 9:14 of the first period. The assists went to Rasmus Ristolainen and James van Riemsdyk.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: Sanny with the silky mitts. #NJDvsPHI | #BringItToBroad pic.twitter.com/MR2zFaABQE

Several shifts after the Sanheim goal Laughton was unable to finish off a 2-on-1 chance. The Flyers had nine of the first 11 shots in the period over the first 15 minutes.

Play moved to 4-on-4 at 18:11 on coincidental minors on Travis Konecny and Tomas Tatar. At 18:35, the Flyers took a 2-0 lead. Active on the pinch, Sanheim started a tic-tac-toe sequence. Ristolainen took a short pass from his defense partner and fired a dart of a pass to a wide open Atkinson a the left post. Atkinson made no mistake.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: Cam Slam Dunk. #NJDvsPHI | #BringItToBroad pic.twitter.com/hy9S6opyJ9

As the 4-on-4 continued, Laughton stripped a defender of the puck in the New Jersey zone and had a one-on-one crack at Blackwell. The goalie made the save. In the waning seconds, Ristolainen hustled back to break up a 2-on-1 after he was initially caught up ice. 

2) The Flyers executed very crisp breakouts and maintained good gaps and strong puck support throughout the first period. They won the lion's share of the puck battles. The underlying numbers were all in the Flyers favor on top of the 2-0 edge in the cash register: Shots were 13-6 Flyers, Philly had 73.9 percent of the shot attempts, five Flyers takeaways (including one by Frost in his brief appearance) to just two giveaways, a 9-2 scoring chance advantage (6-1 high-danger advantage) and a 12-7 edge in faceoffs (led by Giroux going 4-for-5). 
 
3) The Devils got the game's first power play at 1:11 of the second period on a tripping penalty on Atkinson.New Jersey. The Devils had shots. As Atkinson exited the box, he was sprung on a breakaway. Blackwell denied his five-hole attempt. Two shifts later, Hart erased a prime 2-on-1 chance for the Devils after a Keith Yandle miscue.

At 6:07 of the middle frame. it became 3-0 Flyers. The forechecking work of Oskar Lindblom started the sequence. Braun fired a rolling puck through a high screen (and attempted but missed deflection) from Claude Giroux and the puck found the net. The secondary assist went to Ivan Provorov.

A turnover by Sanheim around the boards in the defensive zone was intercepted by Michael McLeod. After receiving a pass in the deep slot, Subban fired a shot through traffic (Nathan Bastian and Sanheim) past a seemingly screened Hart. Time of the goal was 6:43 of the second period.

Giroux made a pair of dazzling passes roughly midway through regulation. The first was a stretch pass that sprung Atkinson with speed through the neutral zone. Blackwood won that battle. Shortly thereafter, Giroux pulled the puck to his backhand behind the Devils net and surprised New Jersey (who'd expected a centering pass in front, and tried to seal off the lower slot) by finding the open man on a backhanded pass. The score remained 3-1.

The Devils went back to the power play at 14:24 on a Sean Couturier tripping penalty. In the late stages of what had been a strong kill, Provorov outletted a pass to Atkinson to start a 2-on-1 rush. Electing to shoot, Atkinson blew a shot past Blackwell high to the blocker side for a 4-1 lead at 16:16.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: Nothing fancy. Pick a spot. Grip it and rip it. #NJDvsPHI | #BringItToBroad pic.twitter.com/lLgvwtR21v

At 18:20, Atkinson pounced on a New Jersey turnover on a sloppy clearing attempt. Receiving a pass in the left slot, a wide open Lindblom wristed home a shot for a 5-1 edge.

Tweet from @NHLFlyers: Take 5������. #NJDvsPHI | #BringItToBroad pic.twitter.com/djZDNlZ4BK

4) Second period shots were 9-9 but the Flyers again had a decided CORSI edge (60.7 percent of the shot attempts), a 3-2 high-danger chance edge for the period and a 23-15 faceoff edge through two periods. 

5) Ristolainen landed two big hits along the boards with the span of a few seconds. The second one, on Tomas Tatar, was called interference at 1:53. The penalty kill stepped up again to preserve the four-goal lead..

At 7:09 of the third period. Atkinson completed the hat trick. He went to the net and Giroux made an outstanding pass to find the goal-scorer. The sequence started as a transitional rush and Max Willman made a nice toe-drag. Time of the goal was 7:09 of the third period with Giroux and Willman (1st NHL assist) receiving the helpers.The Devils had an early push in the period and a 5-0 shot edge at one point, but any remaining air drained from the balloon thereater.

At 11:26, the Devils had speed and numbers off the rush. Hart put an end to the threat, In the final 2:04, Konecny was called for cross-checking. Hart had one more tough save to make plus a routine blocker save in the dying seconds, and he made both.

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