Sean Couturier, Carter Hart shine in shootout as Flyers edge Devils, 4-3
Couturier channeled Peter Forsberg for his shootout winner and Joel Farabee finally broke through with his first NHL goal.
NEWARK, N.J. -- Three nights after their most embarrassing loss of the young season, the Flyers faced a reeling New Jersey team that had just two wins in its first 10 games.
New Jersey didn’t make things easy, but the Flyers rebounded, using a late rally to beat the Devils in a shootout, 4-3 at the Prudential Center.
Sean Couturier’s one-handed goal in the shootout and Carter Hart’s flawless goaltending in the glorified breakaway contest lifted the Flyers to the win.
Couturier was hindered by an injured left hand that limited him to just three faceoffs. The injury probably caused him to make a sweet maneuver -- like the one Peter Forsberg used to give Sweden a shootout win over Canada to win gold at the 1994 Olympics -- and one-hand the puck past goalie Mackenzie Blackwood for what proved to be the winner.
“Obviously, everyone has seen those moves,” Couturier said of Forsberg. It was the first time Couturier tried it in a game or shootout, though he has played around with it at practices.
“I kind of caught him off guard,” Couturier said.
“It was a sick move Coots made there," Hart said. “He’s been doing that on me the last couple of practices, so I was kind of expecting it. He burnt me a couple times on it.”
Taylor Hall went around Justin Braun, came in ahead of the pack, and scored midway through the third period to give the Devils a 3-2 lead. Hall had been booed during the game because he had criticized Devils fans for booing the home team in a 7-6 overtime loss Wednesday to visiting Tampa Bay.
They cheered him when he scored Friday.
Joel Farabee’s first NHL goal knotted the score, 3-3, with 8 minutes, 27 seconds left in regulation, and the 19-year-old Flyers winger jumped into the sideboards to celebrate. Farabee crashed the net and scored on a long rebound of Michael Raffl’s shot.
“It definitely felt good," Farabee said. “I’ve been pressing kind of hard lately, so to kind of get the monkey off my back felt pretty good.”
Farabee scored on his own rebound with 3 minutes, 1 second left in overtime, but he kicked it into the net, and it was erased after a review. Blackwood robbed Claude Giroux just before the OT buzzer sounded, so the team’s went to a shootout.
Hart, the 21-year-old goaltender who struggled in his previous three starts, stopped 23 of 26 shots for the Flyers, who were trounced Tuesday in Pittsburgh, 7-1. Hart notched his first win since Oct. 9, a 4-0 shutout over the same Devils
“The boys did a good job of collapsing in front of the net and getting bodies out of the way so I could see pucks,” Hart said, “and we generated a lot of chances down the other end.”
Couturier’s third goal of the season gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 12:34 remaining in the second. From near the top of the right circle, Couturier’s drive went off Blackwood and caromed off defenseman Matt Tennyson and into the net.
New Jersey responded, however, and tied the score at 2-2 on Sami Vatanen’s power-play goal with 5:32 to go in the second.
The Flyers entered the night with 16 straight successful penalty kills over their last four-plus games, but New Jersey’s power play went 2-for-4.
Hart has been on a roller-coaster ride in the season’s first month.
Up: he had a 2-0-1 record and a 1.62 goals-against in his first three starts.
Down: He went 0-3 with a 5.85 in his next three starts.
Hart made just his second start in the last six games Friday.
“I’m kind of getting back to the basics and the foundation of my game and what makes me who I am," Hart said.
But the Devils struck first. Former Flyer Wayne Simmonds made a nice move out front and deposited a power-play goal — his first score in 11 games with New Jersey — to give the Devils a 1-0 lead with 13:36 left in the first.
The Flyers then began winning puck battles and gradually started taking control of the opening period.
A little over four minutes after Simmonds’ goal, Oskar Lindblom scored the equalizer from in close. Taking a pass from Couturier, he beat Blackwood to the short side to knot the score at 1-all. It was Lindblom’s seventh goal, tops on the team and his 11th tally in the last 17 games dating back to last season.
With Couturier unable to take many faceoffs, Travis Konecny picked up the slack and won 7 of 9 draws.
“It wasn’t a real pretty game on both sides,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “A lot of plays that could have been made that weren’t. But at the end of the day, I like the way we stuck with the game plan and we found a way to tie the game and found a way to win it.”