Hart Lifts Flyers Over Sabres for 9th Straight Win
The Flyers are leading the league in shots allowed per game at 28.6, so it hasn't been often this season that they need their goaltender to potentially steal a game with an abundance of saves. On Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres, the Flyers needed Carter Hart to deliver in a big way, and the 21-year-old did.
Hart made 38 saves in helping to lift the Flyers to their ninth straight win, a 3-1 defeat of the Sabres, allowing them to keep pace in the Metropolitan Division with the Washington Capitals in a tie for first place.
The Sabres had the better chances in the first period, outshooting the Flyers, 13-4. Buffalo got a couple of quality chances, from a breakaway from Sam Reinhart to a couple of shorthanded chances off a 2-on-1, but Hart stopped everything thrown his way.
Through the first half of the season, the Flyers were still not generating much in a sloppy game. Finally, they got an opportunity and made the most of it. A point shot by Travis Sanheim was tipped by Jake Voracek, and eventually the rebound made it across the crease to Claude Giroux. Giroux stopped to control the puck and buried the backhand to give the Flyers the lead at 10:04.
But Buffalo continued to apply the pressure and generate more shots. They finally capitalized on one of their chances with Victor Olofsson feeding Dominik Kahun at the side of the net for the slam dunk goal to tie the game at one with 3:06 left in the period.
Through two periods, shots were 24-14 Buffalo.
Buffalo got a couple of early power play chances in the third and could not convert, but were dominating in possession and shots. Shortly after killing off the second Sabres man-advantage of the period, the Flyers once again found a way to somehow grab the lead.
A give-and-go between Giroux and Voracek gave the captain his second goal of the game and 21st of the season off a one-timer from the slot that hit the post and went in at 9:28.
Buffalo continued to keep the pressure on and could not capitalize on another power play chance midway through the period. Then a gift gave the Flyers a two-goal lead they would not surrender.
Carter Hutton misplayed a puck in the crease, and Joel Farabee was on the spot to put it home, making it 3-1 Flyers with his eighth of the season.
That goal by Farabee with 5:11 remaining in regulation proved to be the dagger for the Sabres. Hart finished off his 38-save performance and secured his seventh straight win. Hutton made 21 saves in the defeat, the sixth straight loss for the Sabres.
On both of Giroux's goals, Voracek and Sanheim collected assists to complete two-point games.
There were a few injury scares within the game. Hart was slow to get up after making a save, causing Philadelphia to hold its collective breath, though Hart remained in, taking a shot from Rasmus Dahlin to a sensitive part of the midsection.
Justin Braun blocked a shot high late in the second, but remained on the bench and did not miss a shift. At the end of the game, Braun tangled with Rasmus Ristolainen and fell awkwardly into the boards, but managed to finish the game. Phil Myers blocked a shot on a penalty kill in the third and went straight up the tunnel to the locker room, but returned moments later. While he also finished the game, he was limping after a couple of shifts.
Following the game, there was no injury updates on any player from Alain Vigneault, but those are all situations worth watching before next week's games.
The Flyers get back on the ice on Tuesday night to take on the Boston Bruins at Wells Fargo Center at 7 p.m.
- No Scoring
- PHI Claude Giroux (20) (Jake Voracek, Travis Sanheim) 10:04
- BUF Dominik Kahun (12) (Victor Olofsson, Marcus Johansson) 16:54
- PHI Giroux (21) (Voracek, Sanheim) 9:28
- PHI Joel Farabee (8) (Unassisted) 14:49
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.