Flyers

Thanks to Carter Hart, Flyers are able to deliver when it matters most for big win

Thanks to Carter Hart, Flyers are able to deliver when it matters most for big win

BOX SCORE

Give credit to the Flyers.

And give a ton of credit to Carter Hart.

The Flyers were the better team Tuesday night for only one period but made it count in the third to beat the Hurricanes, 4-1, at the Wells Fargo Center.

Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee and Claude Giroux scored goals for the Flyers (7-5-2). The team's 16 points are its most through the first 14 games of a season since 2014-15, when the Flyers started an identical 7-5-2. They ended up missing the playoffs and Craig Berube was fired as head coach in April.

The Hurricanes (9-5-1) have been a dominant third-period team but the Flyers got the better of them in the final 20 minutes. 

• Hart has regained his footing. He has 56 saves on 60 shots over his past two games, both victories.

Hart was the Flyers' best player in the first period as he made 14 saves to keep his team afloat. That was huge.

• The Hurricanes outplayed the Flyers through the first two periods. They constantly had the Flyers playing in their own end and Carolina eventually broke through 6:17 into the second period when Lucas Wallmark finished off a nice play.

The Flyers, who want to set up camp in the offensive zone, were frequently one and done, noticeably more than we've seen this season. The Flyers' play through 40 minutes looked like a bad omen for the third period, especially against a team that came in allowing the NHL's fewest goals during the final stanza with six. The Flyers put up three on the Hurricanes in the third.

Head coach Alain Vigneault won't be thrilled with this performance but he'll take the two points and the way his team closed.

• Konecny has points in all but three of the Flyers' first 14 games. The consistency is great to see from the 22-year-old and more than a point-per-game player is the result so far.

• Farabee played with pace and was opportunistic offensively. He didn't have the best start but he got better and better. He was rewarded in the third period and now has two goals over his last three games.

• Playing through a shoulder strain, Couturier is on a four-game point streak with two goals and four assists. He made life easier on his coach by taking only one faceoff.

• Matt Niskanen, again, was really good. He got the puck through on both of the Flyers' goals and there's a feeling that the right play is going to be made whenever it's on his stick (see story).

• The Flyers' power play continued humming with another goal.

The man advantage is 13 for 54 in 14 games.

Through the Flyers' first 33 games last season, the power play was 12 for 99, worst in the NHL at 12.1 percent.

They have two units right now and everyone is seeing the difference.

• The Flyers practice at noon Wednesday in Voorhees, New Jersey, before hosting the Canadiens Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

The team then faces a challenging back-to-back set on the road against the Maple Leafs Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and Bruins Sunday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP). Toronto is a top-10 goal-scoring club, while Boston entered Tuesday's action 11-1-2.

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Pushing Olympics to 2021 makes Brian Boucher optimistic for NHL to finish season

Pushing Olympics to 2021 makes Brian Boucher optimistic for NHL to finish season

Brian Boucher, best known in Philadelphia for helping the Flyers push to the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs and now a well-respected analyst for NBC Sports, caught up with our own Michael Barkann during the current stoppage of play.

There, Barkann and Boucher discussed a wide variety of topics, the biggest being the future of the current NHL season. 

“My hopeful side, my optimistic side says that we’ll have a playoffs,” Boucher said last Friday. “Why I say that is because the Olympics getting pushed to next year, 2021, opens up a window in July and August for the NHL to jump in there.

"That to me is a positive, so something tells me the NHL is going to do all they can to see this season through. Whether or not that means having a conclusion to the regular season remains to be seen.”

It’s a valid argument — and knowing that the league is going to do all it can to award the Stanley Cup, this could very well be one of the more viable and logical options. 

Of course, this all depends on how the next few weeks play out. When will games even be able to start back up? If they do, can fans attend or will it be done in a smaller arena? There are still many unanswered questions during this time, but planning for just about every possibility is the right move. 

Now if things were to eventually start again, how would the Flyers be affected? After going from one of the top teams in the league for months to going cold turkey for a significant amount of time certainly raises some concern.

“They were the hottest team in the National Hockey League,” Boucher said. “A stop like this certainly stops that whole momentum in its tracks, and whatever they were doing in early March and late February, it’s going to be next to impossible to replicate if they start up again in July.

“You cannot expect them to pick up where they left off. They’re going to be starting at square one, but I’ve been impressed with this club all year long — impressed with the direction that Alain Vigneault has brought to this club. They are much more organized, they defend better, I like the veteran leadership that they brought into this locker room and that’s a credit to Chuck Fletcher.”

To hear more about Boucher’s time during the NHL hiatus, his thoughts on the league moving forward and his former team the Flyers, you can watch the rest of the interview above.

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Toughest player he has faced? Joel Farabee has shown he's ready for his answers

Toughest player he has faced? Joel Farabee has shown he's ready for his answers

Joel Farabee was 5 years old when Sidney Crosby made his NHL debut.

One would understand if Farabee was nervous playing against the two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner and three-time Stanley Cup champion for the first time as a teenage rookie in the NHL.

But Farabee has more than held his own against some of the league's biggest stars, which says a lot about the Flyers' 2018 first-round pick who just turned 20 years old in February.

“Wow, there are a lot of good players in the NHL," Farabee said Monday on NBC Sports Philadelphia's Flyers Talk podcast when asked who was the toughest player he has faced in 2019-20. "Just playing against Sidney Crosby a few times was really cool, I think he had a few points in both the games that I played in. You could see him in warmups and stuff like that, how focused he is and he’s such a good player, he sees the ice so well.

“Another player I’d say is Nathan MacKinnon, how good he is, how fast of a skater he is. Those are two guys I definitely get excited playing against just because of how good they are. I enjoy being on the ice with them.”

When the Flyers beat the Penguins, 3-0, on Jan. 21, Farabee played on a line with Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek. That trio faced Crosby's line a bunch and No. 87 went scoreless as the Flyers shut out Pittsburgh.

The Flyers had no fear putting Farabee in such a situation. He also played on the same line Feb. 1, when the Flyers held MacKinnon to no points in a 6-3 win over the Avalanche.

In five combined games against the Penguins and Avalanche, Farabee has put up four points (two goals, two assists) — and his role grew with each matchup.

The path to his NHL dream prepared Farabee for those moments.

“Leaving to go to prep school at 14 I think it was, it was definitely totally different, I had never really lived away from home," Farabee said. "Being able to live away from home, play on a team really helped me out, it forced myself to rely on teammates. I think when I was really young, I was a really shy kid, didn’t really want to talk to people because I was so shy. Being away from home really taught me how to be an adult and how to grow up outside of hockey more or less playing hockey.”

And at 20 years old, Farabee is just getting started for the Flyers.

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