The Flyers came into Monday night’s game sizzling hot from a dominating 7-2 win over the Capitals a couple of nights prior. They took the train back to Philly, where they were ready to play host before embarking on a three-game road trip.
Florida made its way into Philly and made a statement early. However, it was Philly coming out on top with yet another controlled-tempo win as they defeated the Panthers, 4-1.
The Panthers started the scoring off in this one. Florida was nearly offsides, but Aleksander Barkov quickly regained the zone. The Flyers’ defensemen both gave the Panthers way too much time and space, where they would quickly capitalize. Mackenzie Weegar scored from the right dot off a booming rebound to take a 1-0 lead three minutes into the first. Barkov picked up the secondary assist, earning him his 400th career NHL point in his 465th career game.
Soon after, Sean Couturier would head to the box for tripping. Philly was doing a poor job clearing the puck, and Florida was a Kevin Hayes tip away from making this 2-0. However, Hayes’ incredible reach poked it away, and the Flyers moved to 1-1 on the PK.
Morgan Frost would start a smooth zone entry for the Flyers. Tyler Pitlick found Niskanen up top, who found a cutting Provorov. Provy showed poise and patience with the puck and eyed up an open upper right corner. One filthy snipe later, and Flyers were tied up with six minutes left in the period.
With a little under three minutes remaining, Jayce Hawryluk tripped up Giroux on some suspect skate-to-skate contact. The Flyers failed to convert, however.
After one, the Panthers were the better team despite the Flyers outshooting them by one. Too many loose pucks in the Flyers’ own zone for comfort.
Jake Voracek joined the play on a great change, leading to an odd-man rush. JVR went to where he was supposed to be and had an easy tap-in at the back door on Bobrovsky. Flyers took a 2-1 lead with 14:30 remaining in the second.
Throughout the period, Connor Bunnaman played with an edge. The youngster had multiple shifts where he had opportunities in tight and played physically. Carter Hart added on some big saves of his own, including a sliding glove save on an odd-man rush and a shorthanded breakaway opportunity.
Bobby Hagg later got called for a hooking penalty with 8:45 left in the second. Flyers moved to 2-2 on the PK after some big saves by Hart and solid PK work by Laughton. This was then followed up by a powerplay for the Flyers, as Noel Acciari held up Morgan Frost in the neutral zone. The Flyers get a couple of solid shots on net, but couldn’t sneak anything past Bob.
That was until the final minute of the period. Travis Sanheim continues to have Sergei Bobrovsky’s number, as he tucked one home with seconds left. JVR picks up his second point of the night, and the Flyers took a 3-1 lead into the third. Much better period overall by Philly.
The Flyers came into the game 20-0-2 when leading after the second period, so this lead heading into the final frame was promising.
This period started off on the wrong foot for Philly, and ultimately became a penalty-filled session.
Tyler Pitlick got pushed into Sergei Bobrovsky, but picked up a goaltender interference call. This was no problem for the Flyers’ penalty kill, however, as they killed the man down situation off and moved to a perfect 3-3 on the night.
At the end of the PK, Vincent Trocheck picked up a slashing penalty. The Flyers were putting a lot of pressure on Florida, and Aaron Ekblad panicked and threw the puck out of play, giving the Flyers a 17-second two-man advantage. Almost immediately after, NAK got tangled up with a Panther and went to the box for interference.
The rest of the period was fairly quiet, and things wrapped up with another Flyers’ man advantage with 3:55 remaining. Morgan Frost sent Phil Myers some sweet sauce to give him the edge on a breakaway. He was slashed by Frank Vatrano, but the Flyers failed to convert again.
Things got interesting in the final 90 seconds of the game. Scott Laughton slashed a Panther, and Huberdeau nearly tucked one home. As the puck was sitting in the crease on the ensuing rebound, Claude Giroux backhanded the puck the length of the ice to end this one.
At the end of all of this mess, the Flyers wound up a perfect 4-4 on the penalty kill but failed to convert on their five powerplay attempts.
Player of the Game:
There were a few options for this title, but you have to give it to the kid. After missing nine games due to an abdomen injury, Hart stood on his head the entire game. After allowing a goal because of a booming rebound early in the first, he regained his footing and got adjusted.
The man between the pipes only allowed one goal en-route to a solid performance. Quite the night back for Carter.
The Flyers tied up some loose ends after a sloppy first period and pulled themselves together. In a two-point night from JVR and a great outing from Hart, Philly came out on top, 4-1.
They travel up to New York to kick off a three-game road trip, taking on the Islanders first. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday night.
Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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