5 observations: Flyers end loooooong homestand with win as Carter Hart (47 saves!) shines
The Philadelphia Flyers finished their eight-game homestand, the longest in franchise history, by winning a game Tuesday in which they were outshot, 48-21.
Carter Hart stole two points with his superb goaltending as the Flyers defeated the Vegas Golden Knights, 2-1, at the Wells Fargo Center. Hart made 47 saves, a career high.
“He was incredible,” center Scott Laughton said. “He’s been huge for us all year.”
Hart made 13 of his saves while Vegas was on a power play, including six in the final 1:45.
“It wasn’t our best game, but we found a way to win against a really good team,” Laughton said.
“We played most of the game in our own zone,” left winger Oskar Lindblom said after scoring what turned out to be the game-winning goal. “We defended well, but we need to get some offense. Get the puck deep and work.”
The Flyers, who blocked 23 shots, finished the homestand 3-4-1. Not great, certainly, but when you have had the type of season they have endured, it was a step in the right direction.
Now they go on the road for two straight games, facing powerful teams in Florida (Thursday) and Carolina (Saturday).
They have a two-game winning streak for just the second time in 2022.
Here are five observations:
1. Carter Hart was the difference. Period.
Hart was very good overall, and sensational on a Vegas power play late in the second period, when he made huge stops on Jack Eichel (nine shots) and Max Pacioretty (seven) despite having lost his stick. In fact, Hart didn’t have his stick for about a minute before he was able to get it following a stoppage.
Heading into the final period, the Flyers had a 2-1 lead despite being outshot, 31-16. Hart stopped 30 of 31.
Hart pointed to the Flyers’ 23 blocked shots, including six by Rasmus Ristolainen, as a key.
“They were huge,” Hart said, singling out key blocks by Braun and Joel Farabee. “Even on that six on four (at the end of the game), just getting sticks in the lane and sticks on pucks. It disrupts their play. They have a lot of skill and we have to do everything we can to disrupt them.”
Hart is having a strong bounce-back season. From here, the race for the Bobby Clarke Trophy as the team’s MVP is between him, Claude Giroux, and Cam Atkinson.
Sean Couturier won the award in each of the last three seasons.
Mike Yeo on Carter Hart. #Flyers pic.twitter.com/IDb8Di4CcU
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) March 9, 2022
2. Oskar Lindblom continues to get closer to the way he played before his stunning cancer diagnosis in 2019.
The 25-year-old left winger scored on a wraparound — goalie Robin Lehner was slow to react — to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead with 51 seconds left in the first period. It was his 10th goal and fourth in the last seven games.
Since Dec. 14, only Atkinson has more goals (11) for the Flyers than Lindblom (9).
Braun's fifth of his steady season. #Flyers https://t.co/mRUxQRAyEm
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) March 9, 2022
3. Justin Braun is raising his stock in the trade market.
Braun, 35, a prospective unrestricted free agent this summer, has been one of the Philadelphia Flyers’ steadiest defensemen this season. He has also chipped in with some unexpected offense (five goals, 15 points).
He gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead when his wrist shot from the point somehow eluded a shaky Lehner. Braun scored on his first shift after leaving the ice shaking his hand after he blocked a shot.
The Flyers were outplayed and outshot (14-8) in the first period but left the ice with a 2-0 lead — just the fourth time in the last 25 games they have led heading into the second.
Hart had all the answers in the first, including a save on a wild pileup near the crease late in the period.
“He’s playing great,” Braun said after the first period. “That last scramble, he made that save on his chest. We have to do a better job coming out of our zone clean and putting a little more pressure on them.”
4. Scott Laughton looks comfortable — no matter where he plays in the lineup.
Laughton is usually a third-liner, but injuries have caused him to spend a lot of time as a second-line center this season. On Tuesday, he centered the top line for the second straight game.
He has not looked out of place.
“Just trying to run with the opportunity I’ve been given,” said Laughton, who centered Giroux and Travis Konecny. ” … Any time you can play with a guy like G, he makes you a better player and makes a ton of plays.”
Laughton had two assists, giving him four multiple-point games in the last 10 contests.
5. Zack MacEwen makes the most of his limited ice time.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound right winger always plays with an edge and helps give the hard-working fourth line an identity.
MacEwen, 25, had five hits in about eight minutes of ice time
In addition to his six blocks, Ristolainen had six hits. … Dadonov’s power-play goal — he finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play — cut the Golden Knights’ deficit to 2-1 early in the second. … Giroux played in his 996th game. If he is not traded before then, his 1,000th game would be March 17 against Nashville at the Wells Fargo Center. The trade deadline is March 21. … Derick Brassard has 199 career goals. … The Flyers were 0 for 4 on the power play, making them 4 for 52 in their last 17 games. … Vegas, which had a 17-5 shots domination in the third period, started a five-game road trip. … Braun’s fifth goal equaled a career high.