December 10, 2023

Carter Hart shutouts Coyotes in big win for Flyers


AP Photo/Matt Slocum

This game started off horribly for the Flyers, especially against a team that hasn’t won a game yet this season in the Arizona Coyotes.

They turned it around the third period and Carter Hart kept the Coyotes at a goose-egg in a 3-0 win in front of 16,057 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Flyers took care of business, in the end. Carter Hart was great throughout, and the skaters’ best period was the third, by far. Controlled play when chips were down. Not a great all-around game, but they’ll get the two points and that’s what matters most, especially this early as they advance to 5-2-1.

Hart stopped all of Arizona’s 29 shots in a very impressive night.

Period 1

Scott Laughton won the opening faceoff, and we were underway from the Wells Fargo Center.

The Coyotes already had two dangerous-looking rushes in the first 72 seconds. Provorov broke up a two-on-one in front and Juston Braun just got back to deny a potential breakaway. Good stuff by Braun.

Oskar Lindblom had the Flyers’ best chance in the early going off a cross-ice pass by Scott Laughton, but he shot wide.

Victor Soderstrom went to the box for tripping 14:28. The Flyers got a few good shots off, but didn’t get any pass the blue line. Arizona killed the power play.

The period ended just like that. If this was against a quality opponent, it wouldn’t have been a bad first period by the Flyers. But considering they’re playing the winless Coyotes, you expect them to do more than just break-even against this Coyotes team.

It was 0-0 after the first period and if anything, Hart made one or two more tough saves.

Period 2

Scott Laughton won the opening faceoff to begin the second period.

Absolutely nothing was going on the second period for either team. I nearly fell asleep to be completely honest with you. Although, Carter Hart made a big stop on a breakaway. Hart has had to be every bit as good Tuesday night as he was in Calgary Saturday night. The Flyers were really looking sloppy and disjointed.

Atkinson was knacking for finding loose pucks near the net at 12:43 — good determination by Derick Brassard to get it to him — payed off, and it was 1-0 Flyers. Until the referees overturned it. Call turned into Arizona’s goaltender Karel Vejmelka freezing the puck. Very debatable call as the refs never blew the whistle. Here’s an overhead look:

It’s all about the blowing of the whistle for me. It makes no sense. It should have gone to the league to review to hear when whistle was blown. But the officials decided it among themselves.

Odd. Anyways, the fans came alive with “refs you suck” chants — which I agree with — and the Flyers went on a quick 3-on-1 that died quickly on a puck stopped.

Arizona was called for too many men on the ice with 3:01 left. More good puck movement by the new top unit, but unfortunately another shot hit the post. Atkinson hit the inside of the post this time after Giroux hit the crossbar in the first period. Then Joel Farabee had Keith Yandle on a wide open chance. Instead of shooting, Yandle drop passed to no one. Got to take the shot there in a must-score situation. That was it, Arizona killed the power play.

Rasmus Ristolainen did a good job following up his own rebound and creating a second scoring opportunity around the net. When a team is struggling to score like the Flyers are right now, sometimes you just have to get it to the front of the net and creating chaos.

The Flyers were buzzing after their no-goal call at about the mid-way point of the period, but the game is still 0-0. The Flyers got a last-second shot to win the second-period battle 10-9 and lead overall in shots 23-22.

This game could’ve very much be decided on a bounce or two.

Period 3

Johan Larsson won the opening faceoff to begin the third period.

Claude Giroux shot a pass to Travis Konecny on the rush. Heck of an effort from Konecny to create space for himself around Ilya Lyubushkin. Konecny shot a pass to Sean Couturier in front, who finished to give the a 1-0 lead.

It was pretty cool to see Couturier get the game leading goal in the 700th game of his career.

I don’t think Couturier has been playing up to his usual self in terms of five-on-five territorial dominance so far in 2021-22. But I will say, if your two-way game is going to suffer a bit, you better make up for it with offense, and Couturier is definitely doing that.

Shayne Gostisbehere — who’s coming back to Philadelphia for the first time since he was signed by Arizona in the offseason — went to the box for hooking. Nothing was going on the power play, as Arizona killed the power play with ease.

Scott Laughton gave the Flyers an insurance marker with 2:09 left in the game.

This came right after the Flyers just missed the semi-empty net with Vejmelka heading to the bench. Vejmelka dove out of no where to make the stop, then Laughton snuck it past him.

And then the Flyers got an actual empty-net goal, as Couturier gracefully passes up the empty net to give it over to Giroux, and the Flyers took a deciding 3-0 lead.

That was it. Flyers won 3-0.

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