The Hat Trick: Flyers Rock Carolina Like a Hurricane

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers
Oct 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart (79) during the first period against the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In a nice change of pace, the Philadelphia Flyers were able to pick up the regulation win against the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1. In the last two games, Philadelphia’s fate came down to a shootout. The first time, the plan worked out as Sean Couturier’s cheeky setup beat MacKenzie Blackwood on the way to a 4-3 victory against the New Jersey Devils. Against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia went 11 rounds in the shootout before dropping the game but recovering one point in a loss. To build the right kind of momentum, this win against a cohesive unit like the Hurricanes was big with Carter Hart as the goaltender.

The play of Carter Hart stood out early and often in this game. In the first minute and a half of the first period, Andrei Svechnikov had a point-blank scoring opportunity on Hart, but the save was clutch. The powerplay of the Philadelphia Flyers came back to strike when Matt Niskanen took a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle, deflected in by Sean Couturier. Special teams had themselves quite a night for the Flyers. The end of the first period saw Philadelphia lead, 1-0.

Petr Mrazek, the goaltender of the Carolina Hurricanes, had a run with the Philadelphia Flyers two seasons ago. Early in the second period, the Flyers had a two-on-one opportunity and Mrazek made the save on a Kevin Hayes wrist shot in the slot. Just over six minutes into the period, Martin Necas had a nice crossing pass to the wing in the offensive zone to Trevor van Riemsdyk. Carter Hart came out of the net a little too much on the play, leaving Lucas Wallmark open on the crease to score on a quick feed from van Riemsdyk. That goal was enough for the Hurricanes to tie, 1-1.

An offensive explosion took place in the third period in the form of three unanswered goals. Just over a minute in, Travis Konecny collected the rebound from Matt Niskanen’s shot and placed the game-winning goal in the back of the net. Next, about three minutes after the halfway point of the third period, Claude Giroux fed Joel Farabee at the blue line who crashed the net with a scoring chance. Farabee’s shot was originally saved by Petr Mrazek, but the second effort by Farabee couldn’t be denied. Giroux had the exclamation point on the night with a breakaway goal, changing speeds on the shot to fool Mrazek.

The Special Teams Were Special

Any night where the special teams are firing makes the Philadelphia Flyers a dangerous team. This has been a trend since the beginning of the season when the Flyers were in Prague through now. Last night, Philadelphia was perfect on the penalty kill, going three-for-three. To add, Sean Couturier tallied a powerplay goal. The sum of all of those things working out to plan is a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Matt Niskanen

I like when my defensemen are physical, blocking shots and laying out the opposition with stiff hits. Matt Niskanen all around the best defenseman on the Philadelphia Flyers. Not only on the defensive side of the puck, but he is great at creating offense in even-strength hockey and on the powerplay. He tallied two assists last night, one on the powerplay and the other during even-strength hockey. Niskanen looks like his 2015 self when he was a legitimate top-line defenseman in the NHL.

Philadelphia Flyers Youth

I am giddy when I watch Carter Hart, Travis Konecny, and Joel Farabee. Joining them with a good game last night against the Carolina Hurricanes were Philippe Myers and Tyler Pitlick. Myers picked up his first point of the season while Pitlick picked up his second point this season, both credited with an assist on Claude Giroux’s goal. Hart had a quality start, with 33 saves on 34 shots, maintaining a 97.1% save percentage this game. Farabee and Konecny both had goals, joining Hart in the three stars of the game, which gives an average age of 20.6 years between the honored players.

Next, the Philadelphia Flyers are home at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania against the Montreal Canadiens. This game takes place on Thursday, November 7th at 7:00 pm. Thank you for reading and be sure to give a follow for more Flyers coverage at EricReesePSN on Twitter and Instagram!

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports