The Flyers' uncanny regular-season home success against the powerful Chicago Blackhawks continued Wednesday night.
Sizzling backup goalie Michal Neuvirth recorded his second consecutive shutout and Sam Gagner, Claude Giroux, and Matt Read scored goals, keying the Flyers' 12th straight regular-season home win against the Blackhawks, 3-0, at the electric Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers (2-1-1) got stellar goaltending and penalty killing, outhit the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, and put together their third strong effort in four games.
Neuvirth (30 saves) has shutouts in his first two starts with the Flyers. Jeff Hackett (2003-04) is the only other goalie to do that in franchise history.
"Two great 60-minute games by everybody," Neuvirth said. ". . . The more I play, the more confident I get."
The Flyers' last regular-season home loss to Chicago was Nov. 9, 1996, a 4-1 defeat. Garth Snow was the losing goalie, and Ron Hextall, now the team's general manager, was flawless in nearly 25 minutes of relief.
Yeah, it's been a while.
Neuvirth's 120 consecutive scoreless minutes at home are the longest ever by a Flyers goalie at the start of the season. Overall, he has a scoreless streak of 132:05.
With about 81/2 minutes left, Neuvirth made perhaps his best save of the night, denying Jonathan Toews on a rebound while Chicago was on a power play. The Hawks outshot the Flyers, 14-3, in the first 16 minutes of the final period, but Neuvirth had all the answers.
Read iced the win by scoring on a rebound with 2:35 remaining.
Giroux knocked in a rebound after Michael Raffl's wraparound was stuffed by goalie Corey Crawford, giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead with 3:39 left in the second period.
Giroux didn't score his first even-strength home goal until the 36th Wells Fargo Center game last season, also against Chicago. This year, he did it in the second home game.
With the Flyers on a power play, Gagner scored his first goal as a Flyer to give the hosts a 1-0 lead with 14:25 left in the second. From just above the right circle, Gagner beat Crawford with a well-placed wrist shot.
Four minutes later, Neuvirth stopped Marian Hossa on a shorthanded breakaway, keeping the Flyers ahead.
"A momentum-changer," coach Dave Hakstol called the save.
Neuvirth, coming off a 1-0 win over Florida and making his second straight start because Steve Mason was dealing with a personal matter, made six saves in a scoreless first period, including close shots by Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane.
Kane was booed and/or serenaded with unflattering chants every time he touched the puck. The star winger is under investigation for his role in an alleged sexual assault but has not been charged.
The Flyers' penalty-killing unit was 5 for 5, and is 11 for 11 in the last two games, both shutouts.
"We've been doing a pretty unbelievable job," said Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who led the forwards with 4:38 of penalty-killing time. "Tonight, it felt like all the units were together. It was four guys [working] together."
Chicago had three third-period power plays, including a five-on-three for 23 seconds. When Chicago did have a point-blank shot, Neuvirth stood tall.
"You know you have the wall behind you," Bellemare said of his goaltender. "Neuvy's making the saves we need to have him make."
Chicago slipped to 2-2. The Flyers have won two straight since a 7-1 spanking in Florida.
Thanks to the NHL's quirky schedule, the Flyers will have a five-day break before their next game, Tuesday against visiting Dallas.
They go into that break feeling good about themselves.