The Flyers entered Friday night's contest against the Carolina Hurricanes fresh off their second scoreless outing of the season, being shut out by the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0 on Wednesday.
In Raleigh, goals were just as hard to come by early on — the Flyers were held scoreless through the first period for their sixth-straight game. The last time the Flyers scored a goal within a game's first 20 minutes was on October 28 when they scored two first-period goals against the Vancouver Canucks.
However, the Flyers finally broke through in the third period to earn a massive 2-1 road win against a Hurricanes team that had not lost at home all season.
Despite their loss, the Hurricanes (10-2-0) still sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 20 points in 12 games.
The Flyers now sit at fourth place in the division with a 7-3-2 record.
• Carter Hart continues to prove that his subpar 2020-21 season is far in the rearview.
Hart's record (4-3-2) may not be something to write home about, but the fourth-year netminder has been far better than the statistics show. He entered Friday night's tilt with a strong .924 save percentage and 2.49 goals against average, and he was pretty much the entire reason the Flyers managed to pull out the win.
Hart ended up making 39 saves on 40 Hurricanes shots in the victory.
The wins have been elusive for Hart in the season's early going, but that's not due to a lack of strong play. So long as Hart continues to play at this level, the wins are bound to come.
• A successful offside challenge from Alain Vigneault proved to be a game-changer in this contest.
Just seconds after Carolina's Steven Lorentz scored the game's opening tally, Seth Jarvis appeared to double the Hurricanes' lead just past the game's midway point. After getting a good look at the play, though, Vigneault opted to have the goal reviewed for an offside call. And much to his team's delight, the goal wound up being reversed.
That offside call didn't immediately swing momentum in the Flyers' favor. Carolina continued to largely dominate the remainder of the middle stanza. Still, that challenge wound up being a significant turn of events that changed the dynamic of the game — even though it took until the third period for its effects to truly take shape.
• After netting goals in each of the Flyers' first three games of the season, Joel Farabee was held scoreless in each of his last eight.
Finally, Farabee broke through to end his drought, and his goal was a big one.
A little over four minutes into the third period, Scott Laughton gained the red line and fired a bank pass off the end boards to Farabee in the Carolina zone. Farabee scooped up the puck, cut toward the net and slid it through Andersen's five-hole to tie the game at one goal apiece.
Of course, Farabee wasn't the only Flyer who ended their goalless streak. Zack MacEwen found the back of the net as well to log his first goal as a Flyer, and it wound up being the game-winner.
MacEwen's goal is his first since January 30.
Just past the third period's midway point, MacEwen deflected a point wrister from Justin Braun past Andersen to give the Flyers their first lead since last Saturday's 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals.
Oh, and don't look now, but Braun already has eight points (one goal, seven assists) on the season. He posted just six points in 53 games all of last season.
• It's been rare that the Flyers have been dominated in the faceoff circle lately. They entered Friday's game with one of the best faceoff win percentages in the league (55.7%).
However, they were flat out killed in that department against Carolina, winning just 42 percent of their draws. Sean Couturier, who is usually an ace in the circle, and Derick Brassard both went 4-of-15 on their faceoffs, and it was evident early on as the Hurricanes heavily controlled the possession game.
• The Flyers' power play continues to struggle. For their third-straight game, the Flyers were unable to convert on the man advantage, and it wasn't for a lack of opportunities. The Flyers earned five chances on the power play Friday night, including an abbreviated 5-on-3 opportunity, but both power play units looked completely disjointed as the Hurricanes held them to just four total shots on the man advantage without breaking much of a sweat.
• The Flyers will be right back at it Saturday night when they take on the Stars in Dallas. The Stars have been largely unimpressive to start the season — they boast an unremarkable 4-6-2 record through their first 12 games. Only the Arizona Coyotes have scored fewer goals than the Stars to start the season.
When the puck drops in Dallas, the Flyers could potentially get a massive lift as both Kevin Hayes and Ryan Ellis inch closer to returning to the ice. Both players joined the Flyers on their road trip, and Alain Vigneault made it clear Friday not to count either player out for Saturday's contest.
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