Carter Hart gave the Flyers a five-star performance Thursday night.
The rookie goaltender made 37 saves to help the Flyers snap an eight-game winless streak with a 2-1 victory over the Stars at Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers were clearly outplayed, but Hart was the difference maker over the final 20 minutes of regulation.
• One good sign in the opening period was that the Flyers didn’t fall apart despite little offensive zone time. The Flyers went just over 12 minutes between shots on net. To their credit, they didn’t give up very much either. During their eight-game losing streak, they’ve been solid in the opening period with an even goal differential (4-4).
• As strange as it may sound, the Flyers’ most consistent defenseman has been Radko Gudas. It was Gudas with a strong play to jump on a loose puck in the offensive zone that eventually led to the 1-0 goal. Gudas fired a heavy shot that led to a big rebound and from there, James van Riemsdyk had a beautiful no-look pass to Travis Konecny for the goal. Scott Gordon spoke with JVR about improving his play after he was bumped to the fourth line in the game at Washington. Van Riemsdyk certainly responded with a goal and an assist.
• While Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier receive attention when the top two draft picks square off, in this game, it was Nos. 2 vs. 3 with Patrick and Stars 19-year-old phenom defenseman Miro Heiskanen, who plays and sees the game like his teammate John Klingberg. Heiskanen showed off his speed Thursday, but you can tell he’s still learning the defensive aspect of the game.
• Patrick, on the other hand, has a more polished defensive aspect to his game but needs to be more assertive and aggressive on the offensive end. At the end of the first period, Patrick displayed a rare burst that we’ve rarely seen this season to only fire a shot high and wide of the net.
• As much as the Flyers’ power play has been struggling, Stars defenseman Esa Lindell gave it a prime opportunity to score when he flubbed a clearing attempt. Jakub Voracek pounced on the turnover and fed Shayne Gostisbehere, who missed the net entirely from the slot. That’s an attempt that Ghost has to bury and is more of a product of his lack of confidence with his shot that has been very erratic this season.
• The Flyers surrendered too many shots and chances to the Stars in the second period. Thankfully, Hart brought his A-game, including a five-star save on a cutting Klingberg from his right defense position. Hart had very little time to react on the play instead of relying on his ability to adjust quickly and position himself squarely to Klingberg’s shot.
• In the third period, it quickly became the Carter Hart show with some big-time saves on the Stars’ power play. How long has it been since a Flyers goalie stole a game for his team? Hart arguably had his best NHL start since his last victory, a 2-1 win over Nashville.
• Somehow, the Flyers blew three odd-man rushes during a two-minute span in the third period. Two of those came shorthanded with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier failing to convert. The other came on a 2-on-0 with van Riemsdyk and Konecny failing to beat Anton Khudobin on the doorstep.
• The always controversial goaltender interference ruling was put to the test with Voracek scoring with 1:03 remaining in regulation, which would have given the Flyers a 3-1 lead. But this was a clear-cut call as Voracek plowed over Khudobin to slide a backhand shot over the goal line.
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