The Philadelphia Flyers are officially the hottest team in the National Hockey League and apparently, the hockey gods enjoy playing games with the Philadelphia fan base. With such a disaster of a season behind them, the Flyers ironically fight for a historic win against the Vancouver Canucks at the Wells Fargo Center. The organization had the ability to set a milestone of 2,000 wins for the lifetime of the Flyers franchise and what irony it would be to see it through on a season full of losses.
The Flyers come out with the same lineup they gave them a comeback win against the Edmonton Oilers the other night. Against the Oilers, the Flyers special teams put on a clinic as they went 3/3 on the Penalty Kill and 4/5 on the Power Play. With the Flyers recent Power Play success, suddenly the team has climbed up 8 spots and now ranks 23rd in the National Hockey League. That is a difficult thing to do over a short stretch of games so deep into the season, so it should be noted that the power play is no longer a train wreck like it was for weeks prior. Vancouver is led by their elite young group of stars in Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, and Elias Pettersson. They are a large reason for the team’s success this year and are lethal coming in on their opponent, especially on a transition. Currently, Vancouver is rebuilding but can be considered ahead of schedule with its current competitive season.
The Flyers continued to start off slow as Nolan Patrick got called for a tripping penalty two minutes into the game. However, things did not snowball as they did in the recent past. This version of the 2019 Flyers killed off the penalty as needed and the game remained relatively quiet and controlled. Early in the season, the Flyers have had trouble dictating the pace of the game early. Most nights they seem like they are responding to their opponents more than driving at them. When the team has dictated the play, they’ve seen a lot of success. That pattern is usually preceded by an increase in physical play. And just about have way through the 1st period, Radko Gudas makes a big hit at his own blue line and the team starts to throw their body weight just a little heavier. All of a sudden, the fast and young Vancouver Canucks seem one step slower. From there an onslaught of possession was led by Nolan Patrick who drew a penalty in the 2nd half of the period for a little redemption, once again. On the Flyers 2nd power play goal Patrick made the play by driving into the zone with a 1-2 pass from Konecny to Couturier for a beautiful Power play goal. The Flyers established control over the period and headed into the 2nd with the small lead.
The second period was far calmer than the first as both teams shared some opportunities early on. However, the Flyers continued to play hungry. Early on in the period, Jake Voracek received a sleek pass from Phil Varone for a breakaway that he made sure secured a 2-0 lead for Philly. At this point the Flyers had all of the momenta as they continued to carry the play until a weird bounce lead to a long pass into the Flyers zone with no one but the Canucks Brandon Sutter within reach. Without too much hesitation Hart came out to try to cut off the potential break and ended up paying for it. A clear up the boards intercepted by Brock Boeser and just like that Vancouver was back in the game. A lost opportunity to play a relatively mistake free 2nd period, but the Flyers retained the lead.
In the third period the Flyers had a few shots on net early, but they got off to a slow start again until Vancouver took an early penalty. The Flyers had an opportunity to extend their lead, but the top unit fell short with what looked like tentative aggression and an unwillingness to push the pace for fear of a turnover. Overall, it seemed like a wasted opportunity for the Flyers to break away from their competition. This seemed like the period would be relatively quiet until an odd play turned into a scary moment for Canucks veteran defenseman Alexander Edler. With blood and what appears to be a, concussion, Edler was taken off in a stretcher and did not return. With under 10 minutes left in the game, there was a different tone to this one and Vancouver never really seemed to bring it all together. They sustained plenty of pressure, but nothing Carter Hart couldn’t stop. Outside of one save of the year candidate moment, Carter Hart made most of his saves look easy.
The Flyers walked away with their 8th victory in a row and 2,000 franchise win. Overall it was a very exciting night for the fans and organization. On this night the Flyers made their goal of making the Playoffs more possible than ever, they set a franchise record, and they continued to build on their own positive momentum, against all odds. It’s important to note the level of impact Carter Hart has had on the Flyers. An impact that even the superstar forwards on the team like Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier cannot explain. He seems to have a ceiling that most athletes have not seen. Like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, or even Elias Pettersson, there are only a small handful of players who can walk into a league and excel every time without much struggle. We usually refer to them as Generational. My question is, when is it time to start calling Carter Hart a generational talent?
|25 James van Riemsdyk – 28 Claude Giroux – 11 Travis Konecny
23 Oskar Lindblom – 14 Sean Couturier – 93 Jakub Voracek
21 Scott Laughton – 19 Nolan Patrick -17 Wayne Simmonds
44 Phil Varone – 20 Mikhail Vorobyev – 12 Michael Raffl
9 Ivan Provorov – 6 Travis Sanheim
8 Robert Hägg – 3 Radko Gudas
47 Andrew MacDonald – 53 Shayne Gostisbehere
79 Carter Hart
[41 Anthony Stolarz]
Scratches: 15 Jori Lehterä (healthy), 26 Christian Folin (healthy), 56 Mike McKenna (AHL conditioning assignment), 30 Michal Neuvirth (IR, lower body), 37 Brian Elliott (IR, lower body), 10 Corban Knight (IR, collarbone), 5 Sam Morin (ACL surgery).
|77 Nikolay Goldobin – 40 Elias Pettersson – 6 Brock Boeser
47 Sven Baertschi – 53 Bo Horvat – 17 Josh Leivo
26 Antoine Roussel – 20 Brandon Sutter – 18 Jake Virtanen
21 Loui Eriksson – 83 Jay Beagle – 64 Tyler Motte
23 Alexander Edler – 8 Christopher Tanev
27 Ben Hutton – 51 Troy Stecher
5 Derrick Pouliot – 44 Erik Gudbranson
25 Jacob Markström
[35 Thatcher Demko]
Scratches: 55 Alex Biega (healthy), 60 Markus Granlund (healthy), 59 Tim Schaller (healthy).
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports