James van Riemsdyk – Kevin Hayes – Jakub Voracek
Claude Giroux – Nolan Patrick – Travis Konecny
Oskar Lindblom – Scott Laughton – Joel Farabee
Michael Raffl – Connor Bunnaman – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov – Shayne Gostisbehere
Travis Sanheim – Justin Braun
Erik Gustafsson – Nate Prosser
Carter Hart – Brian Elliott
Robert Hagg, Samuel Morin, Mark Friedman
Sean Couturier (rib separation), Philippe Myers (fractured rib), Morgan Frost (dislocated shoulder)
The Flyers came into tonight’s game wanting to build on Tuesday’s victory and hand the Devils their first back-to-back losses this season. Carter Hart got the start in net, his first since Saturday’s disastrous outing. Alain Vigneault also decided to make Robert Hagg a healthy scratch tonight, bringing Erik Gustafsson back to the third pairing and promoting defenseman Nate Prosser to the roster, as well, from the taxi squad.
For a change, Philadelphia came out of the gate with pretty good energy and speed. Claude Giroux had a very early breakaway that could very well have been a goal, except for him losing the puck off his stick at the last second. The Flyers had a good flurry of activity in the offensive zone, getting in close to Scott Wedgewood‘s net.
But then the Devils flipped a switch and pinned the Flyers in their own zone for what seemed like an eternity. To his credit, Hart looked calm and solid in net as he was peppered with 14 shots in the period. Finally, after a long shift in the defensive zone, the Flyers gave up the first goal when Damon Severson basically walked in all alone during a line change and caught Gustafsson going the wrong way. His wrister sailed past Hart.
The Flyers soon tilted the ice back in their favor, however, and Gustafsson redeemed himself with a nice shot on goal which got caught up in crease traffic and allowed Prosser to pinch in and clean up the rebound. It was Prosser’s first shot in his first game as a Flyer.
Nothing changed on the scoreboard after the second period, but the shot clock certainly went through the roof for the Devils. Hart was exceptionally busy as the Flyers continued to chase the play and spend entirely too much time in their own end. Shots were 24-8 for the Devils after 40 minutes. But the young goaltender also looked very solid, even stopping a Jack Hughes shot on a New Jersey four-on-one that developed quickly.
The officials seemed to be pretty quick to hand out penalties to Philadelphia and perhaps a little lacking on infractions assessed to New Jersey. Giroux let the refs know what he thought about that quite loudly when, toward the end of the period, he was cross-checked hard in a way that sent him awkwardly to the ice in almost a full split. He was slow to get up but seemed to get right back into his next shift with ease.
Another game, another third period where the Flyers light the lamp and put away their opponent. Vigneault obviously liked what he was seeing from his fourth line, as they were on the ice the most in the final frame. Connor Bunnaman had another fantastic game, getting in close to the net, putting himself in position for scoring chances, and dominating the faceoff dot. He assisted on Michael Raffl‘s third period goal, which was soon followed by the captain’s first goal of the season to give the Flyers a two-goal lead. That was enough to sweep the Devils and give Philadelphia a much-needed series sweep.
For some reason, the Flyers this season seem to insist on making life difficult for themselves until the third period, when they wake up and start scoring. Yes it’s good that they’re winning games they probably have no business winning, but at some point it’s going to catch up to them. They now head home to Philadelphia where they’ll welcome the New York Islanders for two back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.
Plus / Minus
▲ Carter Hart, Nate Prosser, Connor Bunnaman,
▼ Travis Konecny, Kevin Hayes