The backbone of every good team is a number one goaltender. And for the Flyers, they likely thank every night that they have Carter Hart in net behind them. He has been one of the top reasons that they have played better than expected. A stronger defense in front of him has allowed Hart to settle in and play his game.
The Flyers were going to need another strong outing out of him when they faced the Hurricanes, a team they had lost eight straight games to. Hart, in his first game back since a mid-body injury and food poisoning, looked like he didn’t miss a beat. Only one shot got past him, though it was a rocket of a shot from Stefan Noesen off the setup from former Flyer Tony DeAngelo. Hart would stop 31 of 32 shoes in the contest. He would end up having to make quite a few big stops in this one.
With just a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal by Owen Tippett, Hart was faced was a breakaway attempt from Jesperi Kotkaniemi. It wasn’t the first time he had to step up big on a shot by the Hurricanes forward. Andrei Svechnikov did his best to beat Hart as well, throwing a team-high and game-high six shots on net. DeAngelo almost burned the Flyers again later on with another strong pass to spring Michael Bunting in alone.
After what Hart saw, he had to thank his teammates for the shots that he didn’t see as well. Ryan Poehling, who scored his first goal of the season, and Travis Sanheim blocked a team-high four shots apiece. The Flyers as a whole put their body on the line and blocked a total of 30 shots. There were only four players in the lineup who didn’t have a shot block, showing the team’s willingness to step in front of shots. That’s going to be something that John Tortorella will enjoy seeing his team to. In comparison, the Hurricanes only got in front of eight shots.
Their tenacity and forechecking was on display as well as they stopped a rather strong Hurricanes power play from hurting them. In three opportunities, Carolina mustered two total shots. With the Flyers stuck in an 0-for-25 rut on their own power play, not allowing that to be the difference was key as they did that the last time these two teams faced.
It’s also easy for a goaltender to settle in with a 3-0 lead as well. Tippett’s goal came just 1:50 into the game of a touch pass from Morgan Frost while Nick Seeler set up Travis Konecny, whose hot start continued with a goal in the final minute of the first period. It was a crucial goal as it turned out to be the game winner. Poehling’s first came just 29 seconds into the second period and could’ve ended up being the backbreaker even as the Hurricanes got on the scoresheet.
The Flyers have now won three straight and took three of four during their road trip. They return home for a back to back this weekend, starting with a matchup against the defending champion Golden Knights on Saturday afternoon.