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Flyers Grades: Carter Hart Needs More Goal Support



Philadelphia Flyers
Joel Farabee played just 56 seconds in the Philadelphia Flyers' 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils. (Photo: AP)

PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Flyers need more goals, earlier and more often.

They did hang three on the New Jersey Devils in the 4-3 overtime loss, but two of the three came within the last five minutes. Indeed, the timing of the goals means something for the Flyers, but it’s fair to wonder if they could have done more earlier.

Joel Farabee, who played only 56 seconds before sitting the entire rest of the game, was benched by head coach John Tortorella.

“He didn’t listen,” Tortorella vaguely explained. “None of your business.”

Tortorella might be referring to Farabee’s neutral zone pinch on the Devils’ first goal. Though New Jersey still made their way through the neutral zone, the Philadelphia Flyers still had three players back on defense. Travis Sanheim and Cam Atkinson were the two closest players to Alexander Holtz, the goal-scorer. Neither player picked up Holtz.

John Tortorella: D

Torts was determined to make an example out of the next player that stepped out of line, evidently. The problem, though, is that the Philadelphia Flyers trailed for virtually the entire game. Farabee, on the other hand, is second on the team in goals, with eight.

One period? No. Two periods? No. Three periods, plus overtime? Sure.

Tortorella has spoken a lot about making lineup decisions in fairness to the group. With Garnet Hathaway tossed for a major boarding penalty, the Flyers effectively spent the game with 10 forwards. Farabee has been one of the Flyers’ very best offensive players.

It wasn’t fair to the power play, it wasn’t fair to Farabee’s linemates, and it wasn’t fair to Carter Hart, who faced 35 shots and wasn’t picked up by his teammates until the dying seconds.

A veteran head coach like Tortorella should know better than to try to make a point like that in a game like this.

Power Play: C+

In general, the Philadelphia Flyers power play again wasn’t the greatest, but they did score twice.

Morgan Frost’s goal gave the team life midway through the second period, and Tyson Foerster’s deflection tied the game at 3 with 51 seconds remaining. A lot of the improvement, at least in terms of puck movement, comes from Cam York. York’s game is much better suited to running the point than Sanheim, and it showed on Thursday.

“Everybody was on the same page, I think that was the biggest thing,” York explained. “For us, the biggest thing is to have that shot mentality.”

Akira Schmid was very busy for New Jersey, as he faced a total of 47 shots on goal. Schmid saved 14 of the Flyers’ 16 power play shots over six opportunities.

Penalty Kill: A-

The Flyers‘ penalty kill had a tough matchup Thursday, going up against New Jersey’s top-ranked power play unit. The Devils scored only once in five tries, on a rebound finished off by Tyler Toffoli. Philadelphia successfully killed off Hathaway’s five-minute major, which could have been game over had the Devils been sharper.

The Flyers again racked up the blocks, finishing this game with 15. Carter Hart was nearly perfect whilst short-handed, turning aside 12 of the Devils’ 13 shots.

“The main guy on the penalty kill tonight was Carter Hart,” Tortorella said.

Carter Hart: A

Everyone in their post-game media availability, including Tortorella and York, praised Hart’s performance. They collectively agreed that the goal support wasn’t there, and that the effort should have been better from the jump. Hart was not made available to speak, but he did pass by in the locker room and slammed a door.

The 25-year-old loves to win, and wants to win. Historically, he’s played very well against New Jersey. This was a game that got away from the Flyers, and it wasn’t necessarily their faults.

It certainly wasn’t Hart’s.

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