Wrap: Flyers Grit out 3-2 SO Win in Boston; Phantoms Drop 3-2 SO in Hershey
WRAP: FLYERS GRIT OUT 3-2 SHOOTOUT WIN IN BOSTON
The Philadelphia Flyers built a six-game point streak (5-0-1) and four-game winning streak with a 3-2 (1-0) shootout win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Sunday night. With the victory, the Flyers improved to 10-5-2 overall while Boston fell to 11-3-3 and is winless in its last three games.
Heading into the game, the Flyers had a pronounced fatigue-factor disadvantage. Boston had played only once in the four previous nights. One night after an emotional and high-energy 3-2 shootout win in Toronto, Sunday's match was Philly's third game in four nights and fourth game in six.
In a nutshell, this is how Sunday's game played out: The Flyers played an outstanding opening 40 minutes, holding Boston's dangerous attack to 10 shots, generating 20 of their own and taking a 2-0 lead to the third period. Philly then ran out of gas and needed their goaltender to nurse the game the rest of the way.
Carter Hart delivered. Despite Boston tallying a pair of third period goals -- he had little chance of stopping either -- Hart was the Flyers best player. He stopped 15 of 17 third period shots, including NHL leading scorer David Pastrnak penalty shot at 15:04, two tough tests on a late regulation penalty kill, a deflected rising shot through traffic and then turned back Charlie Coyle, Brad Marchand and Pastrnak again in the shootout.
All totaled, Hart stopped 26 of 28 shots in regulation and OT plus 3 of 3 in the skills competition to nail down a second point.
Travis Konecny (8th) and Phil Myers (3rd, three-game goal streak) scored first period goals for the Flyers. Sean Couturier assisted on both (7th and 8th). Oskar Lindblom got the primary assist (6th) on the first and Konecny had the primary (11th) on the latter.
Danton Heinen (4th) scored early in the third period for Boston. Marchand (11th) tied the game with 7:38 left in regulation. Coyle (4th) and Zdeno Chara (4th) assisted on the first. With a keep at the point to start the game-tying sequence, Matt Grzelcyk (3rd) got the lone assist on the second.
Jaroslav Halak got the start in goal. He kept his team in the game while they were being outplayed in the opening 40 minutes, with no denial bigger than one of Giroux with a 3-0 lead on his stick. Overall, Halak stopped 27 of 29 shots in regulation and OT and then went 1-for-2 in the shootout.
Farabee scored for the Flyers in the bottom of the first round, beating Halak over the glove. Giroux, who scored with a rare shootout slap shot from the slot on Saturday in Toronto, faked another one and then made a move but Halak stopped him off the glove.
Philadelphia went 2-for-2 on the PK against Boston's No. 1-ranked power play. The Flyers' power play went 0-for-2; the latter being a 4-on-3 overtime power play for the final 21.4 seconds after the Bruins were whistled for too many men on the ice.
The Flyers deservedly took a 2-0 lead to the first intermission, outworking the Bruins on both sides of the puck and doing a strong job on the game's first penalty kill. The Couturier stepped up to deliver both goals; first on 3-on-1 rush in which Konecny (with a bit of help from Lindblom directing the puck with his skate) cleaned up a Couturier rebound.
Excellent puck movement by Couturier and Konecny and an even better finish from near the right dot by the scorching hot Myers provided the goals as the Flyers outshot Boston, 14-5. Hart wasn't tested much (five shots) but came up big a couple times when needed.
The Flyers caught a break on a would-be early 2nd period goal for Boston at 2:50. Pär Lindholm forced Hart's pad -- and the puck -- over the goal line with his stick. The ruling was no-goal due to goaltender interference by Lindholm.
Right after play resumed, the Flyers nearly had a slam-dunk into an empty net off a Halak puckhandling miscue. Boston only had three shots on goal through the first 13 minutes of the middle frame. On the third, Hart made a great save on Sean Kuraly.
Overall, the Flyers showed strong defensive sticks and structure in the second period. The Bruins started to pressure in the Flyers end late in the period, but Hart came up with a couple more saves. Shots were 20-10 in Philly's favor through 40 minutes.
Perhaps due to hobbling off after blocking a second period shot in Saturday's game in Toronto, Claude Giroux's ice time was much sparing than normal in the first two periods. He looked fine, however, in going right around David Krejci off a good pass from Joel Farabee for a Grade A scoring chance one-on-one with Halak. The puck went off the side of the net.
Early in the third period, Myers continued an excellent game with a huge pair of defensive stops.
At 5:59, however, the Bruins narrowed the gap to 2-1 on a spin-o-rama goal near the doorstep by Danton Heinen after Giroux blocked down a Charlie Coyle shot and the puck went to Heinen.
The goal energized Boston against a tiring Flyers team. The Bruins attacked in waves. Except for a couple shifts by the Couturier line and one by the fourth line trio of Andy Andreoff, Michael Raffl and Tyler Pitlick, the Bruins spent little time in their own zone until the tail end of regulation.
At 12:22, the Flyers paid dearly for a failed clear as Marchand sniped a shot from the left circle through a Marchand screen to tie the game at 2-2. The puck appeared to deflect off Matt Niskanen.
Late regulation through the shootout was the Carter Hart Show. His penalty shot and shootout stonings of Pastrnak gave the Flyers an enormous lift. In the first round of the shootout, Hart got fully extended moving laterally to seal off the right post and make a skate save on Coyle after the goalie initially appeared to be in trouble. In round two, Marchand was denied by Hart's pad and then, in a characteristically classless move, fired the rebound at Hart (and was stopped a second time; but it wouldn't have mattered had the puck gone in).
The Flyers will have a complete off-day on Monday to enjoy their weekend shootout wins in Toronto and Boston. It will then be time to refocus for a practice day on Tuesday, starting at 11:30 a.m. ET. On Wednesday, the team starts another tough stretch of three games in four nights with a nationally televised (NBC Sports Network) home game against another Eastern Conference powerhouse; the Metro Division leading Washington Capitals.
Wrap: Phantoms Drop 3-2 Shootout in Hershey
One night after the Lehigh Valley Phantoms earned a 3-2 overtime home win at the PPL Center against the Hershey Bears, the teams rematched on Sunday at the Giant Center in Hershey. This time, 65 minutes were not enough to decide a victor, despite a Phantoms 4-on-3 power play for the final 25 seconds of OT. The Bears prevailed via four-round shootout, 3-2 (1-0).
The Phantoms took 3 of 4 possible points from the weekend home-and-home. The team's record stands at 6-2-5. Sunday was already Lehigh's fourth shootout loss of the season. Within the skills competition, rookie center Morgan Frost is 2-for-4 (including an unsuccessful attempt on Sunday) while the rest of the team is a combined 0-for-20 (including attempts on Sunday by Kyle Criscuolo, Misha Vorobyev and Greg Carey).
Although the Phantoms were playing on back-to-back nights after off-nights on Thursday and Friday and Hershey was playing for the third time in as many nights, Lehigh Valley was the lower-energy team for much of the game.
The best Phantoms player at several key junctures was goaltender J-F Berube. The vet stopped 35 of 37 shots during the hockey game and 3-for-4 in a shootout ended by Mike Sgrbossa. Vitek Vanecek stopped 25 of 27 shots and then went 4-for-4 in the skills competition.
Lehigh Valley held a pair of one-goal leads, taking a 1-0 advantage to the first intermission off a tape-to-tape hookup between Carey and Criscuolo. Receiving the cross-ice feed at the doorstep, Criscuolo finished off his 4th goal of the season at 14:32.
Hershey's Philippe Maillet got the goal back on the power play at 3:42 of the middle frame. Phantoms leading scorer Frost re-established a 2-1 lead at 12:24 with his 5th goal of the season.
Until that point, Frost's line with David Kase (1st assist) and a couple of different third members -- starting with rookie Isaac Ratcliffe and later with Maksim Sushko -- was having a rough night. The Frost line spent quite a few shifts hemmed in the defensive zone.
Finally, Sushko jumped on a neutral zone turnover and the Phantoms made the Bears pay for it. Frost received a feed in the slot and scored. The assists went to Sushko (3rd) and Kase (1st).
As a team. very few Phantoms had their skating legs going for lengthy junctures of the game. The Phantoms' best line was the unit of German Rubtsov, Vorobyev and Nicolas Aube-Kubel, which was in the thick of several good scoring chances. Criscuolo and defenseman Andy Welinski also looked dangerous.
The Phantoms will have a day off on Monday. This coming week, the club faces three road games in four nights: in Springfield on Wednesday, Binghamton on Friday and Wilkes Barre/Scranton on Saturday.