Flyers

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BOX SCORE

Carter Hart deserved one of these games.

The 20-year-old, who has had so few blemishes since being summoned by the Flyers, surrendered four goals in the third period Saturday.

Thankfully for the Flyers, they gave him a 5-1 lead to work with and Travis Konecny delivered the heroics in OT for a massive escape, a 6-5 win over the Red Wings at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers (27-24-7) are 11-1-1 in their last 13 games, picking up 23 of a possible 26 points.

Coming into a busy Saturday in the NHL, the Flyers were eight points back of the Blue Jackets and Penguins, with Pittsburgh currently occupying the East Conference's second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Hurricanes.

On Saturday, the Penguins were hosting the Flames, while the Blue Jackets visited the Blackhawks and the Hurricanes welcomed the Stars (see scoreboard).

Despite finally solving Hart, the Red Wings (23-28-8) have lost twice to the rookie in two tries.

• A few Flyers gave Hart big-time insurance 1:24 into the third period. Jakub Voracek extended his point streak to nine games with a goal, followed up by a Nolan Patrick marker less than a minute later, ballooning the Flyers' lead to 5-1.

Those became incredibly timely because Hart uncharacteristically surrendered two goals in 44 seconds shortly after, making things interesting before letting two more by him as the lead evaporated.

 

• For the first time in 33 days, Hart had to bounce back from a loss.

He allowed three goals in the opening 8:36 of the final frame as Anthony Mantha trimmed the deficit to 5-4. He then yielded the game-tying goal with seven seconds left in regulation as it looked like the Flyers were going to collapse.

Hart entered 9-1-0 with a 1.91 goals-against average and .946 save percentage when holding a lead after two periods. The Flyers gave him a 3-1 cushion at second intermission and he was ultimately able to hold on, finishing with 33 saves and improving to 9-1-0 in his last 10 games.

He also made back-to-back stops during the middle stanza that resulted in a rush the other way by the Flyers, who scored on Scott Laughton's goal 1:03 after Konecny supplied a 2-1 lead.

• The second-unit power play needed resuscitation and Konecny has provided it. Three minutes into the second period, he whipped a shot through traffic and past goalie Jimmy Howard for the one-goal edge.

It marked Konecny's career-high fourth man-advantage goal of the season after he scored just one last year. The Flyers are 3-0-1 when he lights the lamp on the power play, such a lift when the first unit can be so Jekyll and Hyde.

The 21-year-old is heating up with 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his last 11 games, a stretch in which the Flyers are 9-1-1. Before this surge, he had five points over his previous 20 games.

• The Flyers went 1 for 2 on the man advantage. Since Jan. 31, they lead the NHL in power-play goals with 12 in eight games. The next closest team has seven. 

For some crazy context of how up and down the man advantage has been, the Flyers had 11 power-play goals over their previous 35 games.

• A nifty pass from Patrick set up a Shayne Gostisbehere goal in the first period, the defenseman's first in 18 games, with his last coming Dec. 29.

Gostisbere deposited a perfect missile top shelf blocker side, which had to provide a jolt to his confidence. The offensive-minded blueliner has been off the mark with his shot but his ability can really take over during games.

From start to finish, he looked like the catch-me-if-you-can Gostisbehere that makes him so valuable to the Flyers. Then confidence was there, a great sign for the Flyers. He also played 18:17 after recording a season-low 11:24 last game.

• After the game, the Flyers sent Mikhail Vorobyev back to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. The 22-year-old prospect had become a healthy scratch again with the emergence of Justin Bailey playing solid fourth-line minutes.

• The Flyers and Red Wings are right back at it Sunday (6 p.m./NBCSN) in Detroit for the second half of a home-and-home set. Interim head coach Scott Gordon said postgame that goalie Cam Talbot — acquired in a midnight trade (see story) — will be unavailable.

 

The Flyers then host the Lightning Tuesday (7 p.m./NBCSP), visit the Canadiens Thursday (7:30 p.m./NBCSP) and welcome the Penguins Saturday (8 p.m./NBC) for the Stadium Series at Lincoln Financial Field.

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