These three Philadelphia Flyers players had one heck of a night in the team’s win over the Florida Panthers.
Needing to regroup following a gut-wrenching 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders in their last contest, the Philadelphia Flyers continued on their three-game road trip by taking on the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center. This marked the third and final meeting between these two Eastern Conference squads, with both looking for the season series win and a crucial two points. Carter Hart received the start for Philadelphia in this tilt and opposed Sergei Bobrovsky.
Unlike their loss in New York, the Flyers had an excellent start to this one, earning the game’s first four shots on goal as they took it to Florida in the attacking zone. This helped lead to an early power-play for Philadelphia, and while they didn’t score on the opportunity itself as time expired, the man advantage still helped set up James van Riemsdyk‘s 17th goal of the year. The 30-year-old forward was able to pounce on a rebound in front of the Panthers crease and slid the puck through Bobrovsky’s five-hole to light the game’s first lamp. Tyler Pitlick and Nicolas Aube-Kubel would eventually get the second and third, scoring goals within about a minute of each other late in the stanza to give their team a 3-0 lead through 20 minutes of play.
Florida pulled Bobrovsky in favor of Sam Montembeault as a way of trying to spark the team in the second, but the Flyers kept on chugging. After holding an edge in the shots and scoring chances department through a large portion of the period, the Flyers potted their fourth goal of the night off of the stick of Scott Laughton, who took a beautiful feed by van Riemsdyk and buried the puck for his 10th tally of 2019-20.
Florida made things a bit interesting in the early stages of the third, cutting Philly’s lead to three thanks to a goal from Jonathan Huberdeau. Claude Giroux seemingly lost his man in coverage, as the dynamic Panthers winger was left all-alone for the backdoor chance at the side of the net with the Flyers Captain trailing on the play. Aleksander Barkov followed that up with a goal of his own to put Florida within two. However, Sean Couturier put all hope of a comeback to rest with his 17th of the year at the five-minute mark, helping finalize a 6-2 victory for the City of Brotherly Love along with a late power-play goal from Robert Hagg (yes, you read that correctly).
Leading the way as my first standout for the Flyers this evening just so happens to be JvR, who I highlighted as a player to watch hours prior to puck drop. And yes, before you ask yourself, that was 100% a humblebrag. Anyways, Philadelphia’s favorite pigeon picked up right where he left off on Tuesday, extending his point streak to four with a three-point performance here against Florida. He also led the team What makes this all of the more impressive for van Riemsdyk is that he’s been finding ways to score even with a slightly lower amount of ice time than we’ve been used to seeing, averaging less than 15 minutes in each game during this hot stretch. That should be an excellent sign for the Flyers moving forward, as it shows JvR doesn’t need a whole lot of time on ice to produce points at a decent level.
I also liked what I saw out of Aube-Kubel. NAK was his usual self on the defensive side of things, displaying an aggressive fore-and-backcheck while consistently putting himself in the correct areas when the Panthers set up their offense. Speaking of offense, Aube-Kubel was tremendous in that department, too, netting a goal in the first and nearly scoring another in the second off of a skilled pass from Michael Raffl. There’s no denying that the former second-round selection has exceeded expectations since his recall from the AHL in December, continuing to make positive contributions to the Bottom-6 with every shift.
Rounding out the group, how about Hart tonight, folks? The young netminder was, in a word, exquisite throughout the contest, putting on arguably one of his best road performances of the year. Though he benefitted from a strong defensive performance from Philadelphia through the opening 40, Hart was heavily tested in the third and came up huge despite allowing two goals. He stopped a litany of Panther chances during the stanza, with one of them being of the highlight-reel variety on Evgenii Dadonov. Hart finished the night making 26 saves on 28 shots and hopefully, this showing was a sign of more things to come for him on the road.
The Flyers are now 32-19-7 on the year! Next game is Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.