Wrap: Flyers Show Resilience in a 5-3 Win in Carolina
Wrap: Flyers Show Resilience in 5-3 Win in Carolina
Trailing 2-0 within the first five minutes of the game, the Philadelphia Flyers bounced back and gutted out a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh on Thursday night. It wasn't always pretty but the Flyers did what they needed to do when it mattered most.
With the win, the Flyers halted a four-game winless streak and improved to 11-7-4; one point behind Carolina for third place in the Metro Division, whereas a loss would have opened a four-point or five-point gap. The Hurricanes (13-8-1) saw a four-game winning streak come to an end.
Flyers captain Claude Giroux had a monster game, breaking out for two goals (6th and 7th) and two assists (9th and 10th). Travis Konecny racked up three assists (13th, 14th and 15th), including one of the spectacular variety. Rookie linemate Morgan Frost scored a shorthanded goal (2nd) and nicely set up Giroux for the game-winning goal on Frost's first career NHL assist.
Frost became the sixth player in Flyers franchise history to score a goal in each of his first two NHL games. He was preceded by the late Bill Sutherland and Andre Lacroix during the Flyers' inaugural 1967-68 season, Mel Bridgman in 1975-76, Eric Lindros in 1992-93 and David Laliberte in 2009-10.
Ivan Provorov (power play, 5th) made it a brand-new hockey game, tying the score at 2-2 with a first period tally from the point. Kevin Hayes, who ended a 10-game point drought with an assist in Florida on Tuesday, later sealed the win with a long-distance empty net goal (5th) in the waning seconds of the third period.
Goaltender Brian Elliott, struck in the back with a puck after getting spun around in a collision around the net (the net came off its moorings) early in the first period, was not sharp for much of the first two periods. He gave up a five-hole bleeder and a well-outside-the-dot perimeter power play goal as the Canes grabbed a 2-0 lead. Still fighting the puck a bit in the second period, Elliott gave out some preventable rebounds but battled for saves as Philly took a 3-2 lead to intermission.
In the third period, Elliott was locked in despite giving up a tying (3-3) goal for which he was not to blame. Once the Flyers forged ahead again, he came up with no fewer than three 10-bell saves to preserve the lead. He finished with 33 saves on 36 shots.
On this night, Sean Couturier became the youngest player in Flyers' franchise history to reach the 600-game mark with the team. His line with Oskar Lindblom created a lot of offensive pressure and played its usual strong two-way game but, for a second straight game, was a bit unlucky in being unable to turn their pressure around the net into goals. Jakub Voracek spent most of the game on the Couturier line.
The Flyers dressed seven defensemen for the game, with Robert Hägg (12 shifts, 8:58 TOI) rejoining the lineup and Andy Andreoff being scratched. With Scott Laughton being medically cleared on Thursday with a targeted lineup return of Saturday against Calgary, the Flyers are likely to go back to a 12-forwards, 6-defensemen lineup for the next game.
Provorov, in addition to his power play goal, logged monstrous ice time (32 shifts, 26:27 TOI) in this tilt. Partner Matt Niskanen played 21:57. From there, ice time allotments for the D dropped to 17:47 for Justin Braun, 17:18 for Travis Sanheim, 13:23 for Phil Myers, 10:57 for Shayne Gostisbehere and 8:58 for Hägg.
The Canes received early goals from Sebastian Aho (11th) and Teuvo Teräväinen (power play, 6th) before Lucas Wallmark (3rd) scored in the third period. Teräväinen (15th assist), Brett Pesce (6th), Andrei Svechnikov (14th), Ryan Dzingel (11th), Brock McGinn (4th) and Joel Edmundson (5th) collected one assist apiece.
Former Flyers goaltender Petr Mrazek made some good deflection saves but didn't really steal any would-be goals and was caught unaware on two nicely conceived plays by Philly. Overall, he stopped 18 of 22 shots.
The Flyers went 1-for-3 on the power play on a night where the game was called very tightly in the first and second period and much more loosely in the third; kind of an old-school style in that regard. Philadelphia was 4-for-5 on the penalty kill, plus Frost's shorthanded goal in the waning moments of a kill.
The Couturier line came roaring out of the gates with a huge wave of pressure on their first shift, including a prime scoring chance for Voracek. However, it was two quick strikes by the Hurricanes -- the first by Aho through the five-hole off a Flyers turnover up the defensive zone boards and a Teräväinen power play shot from outside the right dot using Braun as a screen that snuck under Brian Elliott's right arm.
To their credit, the Flyers battled back from the adversity -- compounded by Voracek getting called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty over the placement of a faceoff, short-circuiting Philly's first power play -- with a 4-on-4 goal on a phenomenal reverse pass by Konecny to Claude Giroux, who scored quickly to the short side.
On Philly's second power play, Provorov threaded a shot through a layered screen and into the net for a 2-2 tie. The assists went to Giroux and Konecny.
The Couturier line subsequently generated a second epic offensive zone shift, highlighted by Couturier doing battle repeatedly -- and winning those battles -- with Jordan Staal. First period shots ended up 11-7 Flyers.
Active sticks in the lanes and keeping feet moving were the keys to the turnaround in the latter part of the first period. An example: Frost was the first to a loose puck in a Carolina zone, drawing the penalty that resulted in the Provorov goal.
The second period was hardly an artistic one for the Flyers, but they got the frame's only goal. In the waning moments of a penalty kill, the Flyers scored on a set play. Giroux won a right circle draw cleanly and Frost quickly fired off a shot past a stunned Petr Mrazek for a 3-2 lead.
The Flyers otherwise spent too much of the second period in their own zone (19-4 shot on goal disadvantage), and a few too many rebounds rattled around as Elliott continued to fight the puck a bit. However, Philly bent but didn't break.
Most of the play was contained to the perimeter. Elliott came up with saves, and rebounds were cleared. On the PK, immediately preceding the Frost goal, a deflected puck that trickled through Elliott was pulled to safety by Matt Niskanen in the crease.
The Flyers were unable to score on a carryover power play to start the third period, and Carolina
drew even a couple minutes later. McGinn kept the puck alive after an initial Edmundson shot created a point-blank goal on the other side by Wallmark to tie the game at 3-3 at 3:24 of the third period. The Giroux-Frost-Konecny line forwards were caught up high, trying to exit the zone too early on what turned into a failed clear and an outnumbered situation around their net.
However, the Flyers retook the lead at 4-3 as the same line struck again offensively; Konecny winning a battle behind the net and Frost nicely setting up Giroux for a tap-in goal at 11:16. Thereafter, it was the Brian Elliott Show as the Philly netminder came up with three separate 10-bell pad saves to protect the lead. A long-distance empty-netter by Hayes at 19:54 sealed the win.
The Flyers will hold a 1 p.m. ET practice on Friday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. On Saturday at 1 p.m., they will host the Calgary Flames in the season's first home matinee.