One of these days this Flyers team will begin to make sense to us fans. Until that day comes, we just have to sit and watch this ride play out. On the final game of a four-game road trip, a road trip in which the Flyers lost two overtime games, they returned east and took on the Metropolitan Division-leading New Jersey Devils. After starting the game down a goal, the Flyers roared back, took the lead, and went on to hold that lead for a 2-1 victory.
The Flyers have played all four division-leading teams this season. They lost to Dallas and Boston; although the Boston game‘s score was magnified by two empty net goals. They fell to Vegas in overtime. But the Flyers have a 2-1 record against NJ this season. The loss to New Jersey came with two sloppy third-period goals. So, against division-leading teams, The Flyers have a record of 2-3-1 this year. At the same time, they can’t defeat the last-place Blue Jackets (0-2) or the Arizona Coyotes (0-0-1). Go figure!
Jersey got things started with a goal by Jack Hughes for his 16th of the year. Hughes’s goal came just 4:20 into the first. Hughes was able to skate in between Lukas Sedlak and Ivan Provorov, made a run for the net, and then dinked one in off the post over Carter Hart’s shoulder.
Philadelphia Flyers took care of business against the Devils
After Dougie Hamilton took a penalty for hooking in the second period, the Flyers went on the power play. Scott Laughton was fed a nice pass that he was able to fire through traffic over the shoulder of Vitek Vanecek, who apparently didn’t see the shot. The game was tied at one each. Then things got testy.
First, Yegor Sharangovich, while on the penalty kill, skated the length of the ice on a shorthanded chance. A brilliant save by Hart would prevent a goal. A few minutes later, Michael McLeod threw down with NHL penalty minutes and fights leader Nicolas Deslauriers.
McLeod was trying to spark up his team and….well, it didn’t turn out so well for him. After their tussle, Brendan Smith wanted to tangle with Joel Farabee. Farabee, who is in the middle of a scoring slump, and who is not known as a fighter, handled himself well enough in the fracas, getting a few good shots in.
The Flyers broke the tie in the third period when Travis Konecny took a turnover from Damon Severson in a similar sort of play the Flyers are pretty good at giving up lately. TK took it the distance and shot it into the net for the win.
Hart was truly sensational in this game. He stopped 48 of 49 shots; several of them very difficult. If it wasn’t for his play, this game would’ve been a blowout. If you had any doubts about him now, they should be erased. He IS the goalie this team has been desperately searching for for years. The 48 saves ties a career-high.
In the third period, Kevin Hayes was benched. It is the second time this season that he was benched. It could be because of a turnover late in the second period that turned into a scoring chance for the Devils. Coach John Tortorella would not be going into specifics about it following the game.
A win over a tough divisional opponent is what this team needs right now. The Flyers return home on Saturday for a battle against the New York Rangers before hosting the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. After that, Philly will embark on a five-game road trip that will take them to Toronto, Raleigh, and California to end 2022 and begin 2023.