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5 Takeaways: Hart, Laughton, Provorov Key Flyers’ Victory

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Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers goalie Carter Hart denies Oskar Sundqvist in Saturday night's first period in Detroit. Photo: AP.

While most of the region’s attention was glued to the Eagles-Giants playoff game Saturday night, there was another Philadelphia sporting event that took place.

In Detroit, the Philadelphia Flyers tried to bounce back from an uninspiring loss two nights earlier.

That’s just what they did.

Flyers 2, Detroit Red Wings 1.

Carter Hart made 30 saves to key the win, none bigger than a point-blank stop on Lucas Raymond with four seconds left. Hart slid over and made the clutch save with his right pad.

With 10:59 left in regulation, Scott Laughton got ahead of the pack, took a great feed from Kevin Hayes, and scored on a backhander to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead at Little Caesars Arena.

A little over two minutes later, Noah Cates converted a Travis Konecny pass to make it 2-0. Konecny put a big hit on a Red Wing to put the sequence in motion.

Raymond ruined Hart’s shutout with 42-5 seconds left — and almost scored the equalizer in the waning seconds.

So while many of you were watching Jalen Hurts and Co., here are five quick takeaways on what you may have missed in Detroit:

1. Ivan Provorov and the Flyers put on a shot-blocking clinic.

With the game scoreless and a little over 15 minutes left in regulation, Nick Deslauriers probably saved a goal as he slid in front of the net and blocked Michael Rasmussen’s shot.

“I owe him a steak dinner,” Hart cracked.

The Flyers blocked a staggering 31 shots, including eight by Ivan Provorov. He blocked a 94 m.p.h. tracer early in the third period and had to be helped off the ice by Rasmus Ristolainen. Provorov didn’t miss a shift.

Warrior.

“They create some energy on the bench and energy for our team when guys sacrifice themselves to get in a lane and block the shot,” Hart told reporters after the Philadelphia Flyers’ ninth win in their last 12 games.

2. Carter Hart was terrific.

The Flyers were in a scoreless tie after one period because Hart was razor sharp. He stopped Dylan Larkin’s point-blank shot, robbed Raymond in front, and turned aside Oskar Sundqvist’s deflection from the doorstep while making 11 saves in the first.

Hart played well the rest of the night. He made a diving save on Joe Valeno’s right-circle drive with 8:44 remaining in regulation to keep the Flyers ahead, 1-0. And he made his most important save just before the buzzer.

3. The Flyers turned up the physicality.

Philadelphia, which moved to within six points of a playoff spot, showed why it entered the night leading the NHL with 1,335 hits, an average of 29 per game.

Led by Owen Tippett, the Flyers were the aggressors in the opening period, outhitting the Red Wings, 16-5. They finished with a 27-19 advantage in hits as Patrick Brown (5) paced the Flyers.

4. Defenseman Cam York is taking more chances on offense.

York (four blocks) is joining the rush more as his confidence grows. He had two of the Philadelphia Flyers’ best scoring chances in the first two periods, firing wide on one opportunity in front, and being stopped by Ville Husso on a close shot after he made a spin move to get to the net.

5. The Flyers awoke midway through the second period.

Until then, the Flyers’ forecheck was almost non-existent, resembling their play in Thursday’s 4-1 loss to Chicago.

But they finally found their legs and started to apply pressure. At one point, they had 11 straight shots in the second, which ended with the teams still in a scoreless tie.

The offense came to life in the third period as the Flyers won for the sixth time in their last seven road games.

“We know we need to get on a run before the All-Star break,” Laughton said.

Breakaways

The Flyers entered the night second in the NHL in blocked shots (788). … Philly hosts Winnipeg on Sunday night. The Jets are 30-16-1 after their 5-1 win Saturday night in Ottawa. … All-Star forward Kevin Hayes will play in his 600th career game Sunday. … Laughton has eight points over his last six games. … The Flyers are 3-5-1 in the first set of back-to-back games, and 2-6 in second contests. … Tony DeAngelo has 16 points (4-12) in his last 20 games. He leads Flyers’ defensemen with 26 points (7-19). … The Flyers are 10-9-6 on the road.

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