Through the first 40 minutes of the game, the Flyers had just eight shots on goal, certainly not a formula for success. Lucky for them, their goaltender appeared back to his usual form.
Carter Hart made 23 saves in the first two periods, and the Flyers struck for two goals in the third period to claim a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
Both the Flyers and Devils generated early chances during some wide-open play off the opening face-off. But it was the Devils who would strike first in this one.
After a shift with two failed clears, the Flyers got the puck to the neutral zone and the Devils caught them in a line change. Erik Gustafsson failed to close the gap on Damon Severson, and Severson entered the zone and fired a shot off the post and in to make it 1-0 New Jersey at 7:11.
Just over two minutes later, the Flyers came right back with the equalizer. Off a chance for Gustafsson, Nate Prosser – playing in his first game in two years – was there for the rebound and scored to tie the game at one.
For the rest of the period, the Devils were largely in control, holding the Flyers without a shot for the remainder of the period and out-shooting them, 14-4, for the period.
In the second, it was more of the same. The Flyers killed off two penalties and struggled on their lone power play in the middle frame. They allowed 10 shots to the Devils as Hart stood tall. The Flyers managed just four shots for the second straight period, ending the second trailing in that department, 24-8.
Early in the third, the Flyers fourth line got them back in front. Connor Bunnaman hit the post on a chance, but Michael Raffl was in front to clean up the rebound and score to make it 2-1 at 2:10.
Just over four minutes later, Gustafsson set up another goal as his slap-pass found Claude Giroux in front for the tip to make it 3-1 at 6:26.
Hart took care of the rest. As the Devils made a push with a few good chances in the third, he was up to the task on all of them. Hart finished the third period with 10 saves and 33 for the game to close out the win. Scott Wedgewood made 14 saves on 17 shots in the loss.
The Flyers get back on the ice on Saturday when they return home to face the New York Islanders. Game time is 7 p.m.
- NJ Damon Severson (1) (Ryan Murray) 7:11
- PHI Nate Prosser (1) (James van Riemsdyk, Erik Gustafsson) 9:23
- No Scoring
- PHI Michael Raffl (2) (Connor Bunnaman, Nicolas Aube-Kubel) 2:10
- PHI Claude Giroux (1) (Gustafsson, Jake Voracek) 6:26