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game recap

Hart makes 30 saves in return from injury, Flyers defeat Panthers

Van Riemsdyk has goal, assist; Florida loses third straight

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

Van Riemsdyk's tip-in goal

FLA@PHI: van Riemsdyk deflects Voracek's feed home

Jakub Voracek skates into the zone on a 2-on-1 and feeds James van Riemsdyk, who deflects the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky for a 2-1 lead

  • 00:41 •

PHILADELPHIA -- Carter Hart made 30 saves in his return from injury for the Philadelphia Flyers in a 4-1 win against the Florida Panthers at Wells Fargo Center on Monday.

Hart missed nine games after he strained his lower right abdominal muscle during practice on Jan. 15.

"Maybe a couple shots and I was good to go," Hart said. "I kind of did all the work in practice with our coaches and our staff to make sure we did any scenario that would test my injury and see how I felt. You get a couple (shots) early and it gets you into the game."


[WATCH: All Panthers vs. Flyers highlights]


James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist for Philadelphia (31-18-7), which won for the eighth time in 11 games (8-2-1).

The Flyers, with 69 points, moved two points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

MacKenzie Weegar scored for Florida (29-20-6), which has lost three in a row and is 1-4-1 in its past six games. Sergei Bobrovsky, in his 500th NHL game, made 30 saves.

The Panthers trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by two points for third place in the Atlantic Division. They are five points behind the Flyers.

"I know we're frustrated with a few things and we can make excuses up, but we've got a great leadership group in here and we have great guys in this room," Weegar said. "We pick everybody up and we're not too worried about it. We'll get scoring [and] we'll finish off in the right way this year."

Video: FLA@PHI: Provorov nets top-shelf wrister from slot

Weegar gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 3:07 of the first period when he scored on the rebound of Aaron Ekblad's shot.

It was the Panthers' first shot of the game but neither Hart nor his teammates said they were concerned about any rust. Hart saved the next nine shots he faced in the first period.

"He looked sharp, looked like he didn't miss a beat there," van Riemsdyk said. "It's tough for anyone to miss time, especially for goalies. I think it can be tough, just the timing of things, and having that much time out with an injury is tough. But he looked really good tonight. He looked calm, he looked poised and made a lot of stops look easy."

Ivan Provorov tied it 1-1 for the Flyers with a wrist shot from between the circles at 13:58. It was his first goal in 18 games.

Van Riemsdyk finished a 2-on-0 rush with Jakub Voracek to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead at 5:24 of the second period, and Travis Sanheim knocked in a loose puck to make it 3-1 with 52 seconds remaining in the second.

Video: FLA@PHI: Sanheim jams rebound past Bobrovsky in front

With Scott Laughton in the penalty box for slashing with 1:28 remaining in the third period, the Panthers pulled Bobrovsky for an extra attacker and a 6-on-4 advantage. Florida forward Jonathan Huberdeau nearly scored at the post with 1:13 remaining but couldn't control a bouncing puck.

It then rolled to Claude Giroux, who scored a shorthanded empty-net goal with 1:09 left for the 4-1 final.

"We had a real good start to the game, did a few good things," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. "Lost a little momentum on their first goal, but I thought we had several high-quality chances in the second period and they go down and score to make it 3-1. Third period wasn't very good, but we had some chances, missed some breakaways. We've got to be better start to finish."


They said it

"Nothing wrong with getting angry in the right way. Make sure we play with a purpose, but let's not be happy with what's going on here and do something about it." -- Panthers coach Joel Quenneville

"It was nice to get back out there. It's not fun when you're just watching from the side, so it felt really good to get back out there with the boys and get a huge two points." -- Flyers goalie Carter Hart

"He definitely put his body on the line on a few occasions tonight. A lot of time you say that a good, strong defensive play is as important as scoring a goal, and there is no doubt that he made a couple real nice defensive plays tonight." -- Flyers coach Alain Vigneault on forward Travis Konecny, who had a team-high five blocked shots


Need to know

Each team went 0-for-5 on the power play. They play again at BB&T Center on Thursday. ... Panthers center Aleksander Barkov had an assist on Weegar's goal for his 400th NHL point. It was his 249th NHL assist, tying Stephen Weiss for second in Panthers history. Huberdeau leads with 283 ... Giroux has goals in consecutive games after a 13-game drought.


What's next

Panthers: At the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Flyers: At the New York Islanders on Tuesday (Barclays Center; 7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NBCSP, NHL.TV)

Video: Hart makes 30 saves in return as Flyers beat Panthers

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