Carter Hart’s goaltending, third-period surge lift Flyers past Carolina, 4-1
Hart stood tall and Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee and Claude Giroux scored third-period goals as the Flyers outlasted visiting Carolina on Tuesday.
Carter Hart, looking like the goaltender who was dominant in his first three starts this season, stopped 33 of 34 shots Tuesday night as the Flyers increased their point streak to three games.
Hart was superb, and Travis Konecny gave the Flyers the lead for good early in the third period as they outlasted Carolina, 4-1, at the Wells Fargo Center.
“He gave us those big saves when we needed to be bailed out,” Konecny said. “He gave us an opportunity to get going.”
The Flyers (7-5-2) were outplayed by the hardworking Hurricanes in the first 40 minutes, but Hart had them in a 1-1 tie before they outscored Carolina, 3-0, in the final period.
Hart recently went through a rough three-game stretch, but he and his teammates downplayed it.
“There’s nothing really to be worried about. I’m sure he wanted to be better, the same for us in front of him,” center Sean Couturier said. “Collectively we stuck together and tried to support him as much as we can and be better in front of him. Tonight, we gave up a few chances and he was there to back us up.”
Hart said he “just tried to get back to the basics and not overthink things” in his last few starts.
Konecny made it 2-1 with 18 minutes, 48 seconds left in regulation, knocking in a fat rebound allowed by Petr Mrzaek.
Matt Niskanen took the original shot and collected his second primary assist in the game. Konecny scored his seventh goal, tying Oskar Lindblom for the team lead.
“The reason we came on in the third, we just wanted it more. I think it was easy to see that," right winger Joel Farabee said. “We were the more determined team to get pucks below their goal line and just go to work. If you keep them in their own zone, they’re going to make mistakes.”
Farabee, the 19-year-old rookie who is playing on the top line, secured the win when he scored on his own rebound with 7:01 left, giving the Flyers a 3-1 lead. Claude Giroux (two points) made it 4-1 as he scored on a breakaway with 2:22 to go.
“They put on lot of pressure in the forecheck. There’s not a lot of free ice out there,” Niskanen said of the Hurricanes (9-5-1). “A lot of consecutive chips to get pucks out of the zone. It’s kind of ugly hockey, but effective on their part. If you stay with it, though, you’re going to get some odd-man breaks, and I think we cashed in on a couple."
With 13:43 left in the second period and defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere and Justin Braun caught out of position, the Hurricanes had a two-on-one down low and Lucas Wallmark converted a pass from Trevor (brother of James) van Riemsdyk -- who got it past the lone defender, center Kevin Hayes -- to tie the game at 1-1.
Seconds before the goal, Wallmark knocked the stick out of Hart’s hands. The Flyers did not challenge for goaltender interference, which should have been called on the play. Hart kind of shrugged after the goal and did not appear to complain to the officials.
Coach Alain Vigneault said he thought Hart may have been out of the crease and it wasn’t worth challenging. (Even if he was out of the crease, however, the goal would not have counted, according to NHL rules, because the interference caused the tally to be scored.)
Carolina, its forecheck clicking, had more quality chances in the opening period, but the Flyers left the ice at the intermission with a 1-0 lead.
In his best period in several weeks, the 21-year-old goaltender stopped all 14 shots he faced in the first, including Grade A opportunities by Warren Foegele (twice), Aho, Teuvo Teravainen. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton also blasted a shot off the post in the first period.
“He’s a true pro at this age; he comes to the rink and he’s focused every day,” Braun said. “He’s not coming in dragging. It looks like he got sleep the night before. [That’s] one of the hardest things when you’re a younger guy. You’re single and you have free time. But he comes to the rink every day ready to work.”
Couturier put the Flyers on the board as he redirected Niskanen’s shot past Mrazek while the hosts were on a power play. It was the Flyers’ seventh power-play goal in the last four home games, and it gave their “second” power-play unit seven goals, one more than the so-called top unit.