Recap: Hart makes 48 stops in Flyers 4-3 win over Panthers

Cats drop both games on road trip to fall to 4-3-1

The Florida Panthers pelted Carter Hart with 51 shots, but it was the Philadelphia Flyers who came with a 4-3 victory at Wells Fargo Center.

Florida lead twice in the first period, but goals from Zach McEwen and Joel Farabee 1:12 apart in the second period put the Cats in a hole they couldn’t quite dig out of.

Carter Verhagehe did yeoman’s work below the goal line to help the Panthers open the scoring 3:41 into the first. After winning the puck, Verhaeghe backhanded it out into the slot, where it ticked off Aleksander Barkov’s blade before finding Gustav Forsling, who squeaked a wrist shot through Hart.

The Flyers evened it up three minutes later when Farabee claimed a puck Forsling knocked out of the air and centered to Travis Konency. Konency sent a cheeky backhand pass over to Tony DeAngelo, who beat Sergei Bobrovsky from the left circle.

Florida got another from its defense corps to regain the lead at 7:58. Colin White dropped the puck to Radko Gudas, who was stopped by Hart. The rebound came to Josh Mahura and he slid it along the ice for his second of the season.

A tripping call on Eetu Luostarinen put the Flyers on the power play, and Scott Laughton took advantage to knot the score with 4:32 left in the frame. Konency made another fine pass to get the primary assist after Gudas blocked Kevin Hayes’ initial shot.

Philadelphia forged ahead when MacEwen redirected Nick Seeler’s shot by Bobrovsky at 10:17 of the middle frame and went up by two after Hayes missed wide on a breakaway, got the puck back, and quickly sent it in front, where Farabee knocked it home.

Nicolas Deslauriers got the second assist on MacEwen’s goal while former Panther Owen Tippett picked up the secondary on Farabee’s marker.

The Panthers ended their long run of futility on the power play when Hart denied Matt Tkachuk and Sam Reinhart whacked the rebound over to Brandon Montour, who lifted a backhander over the fallen goaltender to halve the deficit 36 ticks into the third.

Unfortunately, that would be Florida’s last goal, despite strafing Hart with a total of 21 shots over the final twenty minutes, and the Cats would lose for the third time in the last four games.

Aleksander Barkov, who had a big faceoff win on the play leading to Montour’s goal, and Reinhart still haven’t found the back of the net this season. The rest of the forward brigade couldn’t solve Hart either and the club failed to pull even a point from a game they dominated for the most part.

The Cats will return home for the disappointing road trip to face the Ottawa Senators Saturday afternoon. It will be the first meeting of the season between the two Atlantic Division foes.

Lift & Drag

  • Eric Staal, who signed with the Panthers on October 21, played 10:37 in his season debut and was credited with two takeaways. It was Staal’s first NHL game since the 2021 Stanley Cup Final when he was with the Montreal Canadiens.
  • Brandon Montour’s power-play goal was Florida’s first in six games, third this season, and snapped an 0 for 26 dry run.
  • Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who had been out with a hip injury, made his season debut and had two hits in 14:06 of ice time.
  • I know hindsight is 20/20, but I thought Spencer Knight should’ve gotten the start in this one. Sergei Bobrovksy lost for the third time in a row, finishing with 18 saves on just 22 shots. Paul Maurice has called Bobrovsky in six of Florida’s first eight games. I’d like to see a even split in that department.
  • Prior to last’s night’s 48-save effort, Carter Hart’s previous career high for saves was 47 against the Vegas Golden Knights last season on March 8.
  • The Panthers have dropped two in a row while the surprising Flyers are 5-2 and sit atop the Metropolitan Division. Read more about it at Broad Street Hockey./