Flyers give Hart deserved breather with easy 6-2 victory

Michael Raffl

PHILADELPHIA – Carter Hart didn’t have time to buy thank you cards but if he did, he would have sent one to each of his teammates on Saturday.

During the most recent four games of his personal winning streak, which reached an NHL rookie record-tying eight (for goalies under the age of 21) in a game against the Anaheim Ducks, Hart had to stand on his head to pull out one-goal victories.

But in this afternoon contest at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers (9-0-1 in last 10) struck early and often, racing out to a 4-0 lead after one period and coasting to a 6-2 win.

There was no letdown from a 3-2 shootout loss to Los Angeles on Thursday, which snapped the Flyers’ eight-game winning streak.

Phil Varone, Sean Couturier, Michael Raffl (shorthanded) and Oskar Lindblom all scored in the first 17:46 and the Flyers were on their way to a bit of a laugher.

Hart improved to 11-5-1 (2.45 goals-against average, .926 save percentage) giving up one power-play goal to Adam Henrique 51 seconds into the second period and another to Nick Ritchie at 4:57 in the third period.

In winning, Hart ties the under-21 mark held by former Quebec Nordique goaltender Jocelyn Thibault (Thibault went 8-0-0 from March 6-26, 1995). Also, Hart is just win away from tying the Flyers’ rookie record of nine held by the late Pelle Lindbergh and four away from the overall record of 12 established by Bob Froese.

Nice to give Hart some breathing room for a change?

“Still early on in the game, he made a big save there on that breakaway (Jakob Silfverberg), kept us in the game,’’ Couturier said. “It could have been a whole different game. It’s nice to give him some support.’’

Other Flyers said Hart deserved something besides a nail-biter for a change.

“He still made some big saves in the first period,’’ Phil Varone said. “He’s been playing great. But it was nice to get him some goal support.’’

Hart takes all these successes in stride.

“I don’t really think about that (records),’’ he said. “I don’t look at those things. Sure it’s cool but we just want to win games. Right now we’ve been playing really good, got a lot of run support today with six goals. I thought we pressured them for the full 60 minutes.’’

Anaheim starting goaltender Chad Johnson could be excused from taking much of the blame for the lopsided first period. He had almost no support and was replaced for the second period by Kevin Boyle, the Manalapan, N.J. native who made his NHL debut and became the second N.J.-born goaltender to play in the NHL. The Flyers’ Anthony Stolarz was the first.

Varone started the parade at 2:44. Raffl knocked down a Johnson clear attempt behind the net and fed Varone in front.

At 10:24, Couturier scored off a lead pass from Robert Hagg. Raffl made it 3-0 when he scored shorthanded at 11:44. It was just the Flyers’ fourth shorthanded goal of the season.

Lindblom completed the onslaught when he converted a Couturier pass at 17:46.

Raffl and Hagg finished the game plus-3.

Patrick scored a power-play goal at 12:15 of the third to make it 5-2. Travis Konecny added a goal with 1:11 to play.

According to coach Scott Gordon, Hart deserved a little bit of slack after numerous tight contests.

“You can say that again,’’ he said. “For me, it was a relief to get hat power-play goal (by Patrick, the Flyers’ eighth in the last four games). Not have to worry about the goalie coming out (at the end, in a possible two-goal game). He (Hart) obviously made some huge saves in the first, they stripped of some pucks but Carter made those big saves and the rest of the game was a little easier.’’

>Myers’ reaction to promotion

The Flyers called up Philippe Myers from the Phantoms on Saturday and he could be available to play in Philadelphia’s next game.

“It feels great,’’ Myers said in an interview on 97.5-FM radio. “Obviously I’m really grateful to get the opportunity to play for the Flyers. It’s been a goal of mine for quite a while now, a dream since I was a little child. I worked hard this year and I think I earned it.’’

Myers’ progress has been hindered by injuries but he’s healthy now and ready to go.

“It’s just an honor,’’ said Myers, who will wear No. 61. “I’m trying not to get too high or too low. Just control my emotions.’’

>Short shots

The Flyers return to action Monday to play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins. . .Varone finished the game with two points. Previously, he had a grand total of three in his entire season (24 games) with the Flyers. It’s the third multi-point game of his NHL career. . .Philadelphia is 19-2-2 when leading after two periods. . .Anaheim’s team goal differential dropped to an NHL-worst minus-53. . .Couturier and Jake Voracek extended their point-scoring streaks to six games. Couturier has seven goals and six assists (13 ooints) in his last nine games. . .The Flyers challenged the Henrique goal, hoping for an offsides call, but failed. . .The Flyers’ four-goal first period was their first four-goal first period since March 30, 2017 vs. the Islanders.

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 548 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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