Charlie McAvoy looked to the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center as Carter Hart flashed the leather one final time on Wednesday night, announcing his arrival in a resounding way in perhaps his finest start as an NHLer to date.
It was just one of 39 saves for the rookie netminder on the night as the Flyers took down the Bruins by a 4-3 final score. The 20-year-old was phenomenal, standing tall after Boston took an early 2-0 lead, allowing the team in front of him to gain their legs and rail off four unanswered goals on their way to a second-straight win.
Hart provided the saves and Sean Couturier provided the goals, notching a hat trick to go along with an Oskar Lindblom goal to cap the scoring for the Flyers on the night.
It was nearly a quick start for the visitors as Charlie McAvoy rang one off the post behind Carter Hart just over a minute in.
Travis Konecny would draw the game’s first penalty, with Peter Cehlarik off for boarding just 1:25 after puck drop to unleash the Flyers’ new five-forward power play look. The Bruins nearly took advantage of the setup thanks to a funky bounce off the glass, but nothing came of the rush save for some extra time killed off as the Flyers couldn’t capitalize on the man-advantage.
Not long after it would be the Bruins’ chance with the power play after a tripping call on Jori Lehtera, and they would be able to capitalize.
Torey Krug fed a perfect pass through the seem and David Pastrnak fired home the one-timer past Hart to give the Bruins at 1-0 lead 4:39 into the frame. Pastrnak’s shot actually went towards the middle of the net and Hart got a piece of it, but not enough.
Krug finds Pastrnak for the power play goal. pic.twitter.com/gRPZGRSDaz— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 17, 2019
Though Pastrnak got him earlier, Hart came up with a massive save with Bruins’ sniper in all alone on a breakaway, which led to a Sean Couturier chance at the other end. It was the Flyers’ first shot on net, with more than seven minutes played to that point.
Couturier’s miss would prove to be a big one with the Bruins extending their lead not long after, with Cehlarik beating Hart at the 9:12 mark to make it 2-0.
Cehlarik left wide open, goal. pic.twitter.com/yrve8RNTuS— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 17, 2019
Nolan Patrick nearly responded for the Flyers, but somehow Jaroslav Halak got his pad on the shot and was able to deny the chance. Patrick, coming off a two-goal game against the Wild, had plenty of net up top, but couldn’t elevate the puck.
His good buddy Oskar Lindblom would help get the Flyers on the board by sniping one past Halak to cut the Boston lead to 2-1 with 7:16 left in the period. Claude Giroux recorded his 500th career assist on the goal.
Lindblom puts the Flyers on the board! pic.twitter.com/NL85UYA5J1— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 17, 2019
Boston would close the period strong, adding a couple more great scoring chances, but Carter Hart was up to the task with a couple of dandy stops to close the first 20.
After 20: Bruins 2, Flyers 1
The second period started might tighter than the first did, with the lone chance in the first five minutes coming for the Bruins’ Brandon Carlo on a blast down the right wing that Hart turned aside. The rebound caromed dangerously out front, but the defense was able to clear to safety.
That would prove to be a big save as the Flyers would even the score moments later with Sean Couturier deflecting home a Jake Voracek shot 5:32 into the period to pull things even at 2-2. It was the Flyers’ first shot of the period, no less.
Couturier with the redirect! pic.twitter.com/flzYYphNrl— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 17, 2019
On the ensuing rush up ice Patrick Bergeron would pick up a tripping call as Lindblom headed to the net to try and get at a rebound off a Travis Sanheim shot.
The Flyers would make quick work on the power play, 37 seconds’ worth. Sean Couturier potted his second of the night to make it 3-2 at the 6:47 mark. Hart started the rush after a Bruins shorthanded chance at the other end, then Wayne Simmonds found Couturier crashing the net for the goal.
What a rush, what a goal! pic.twitter.com/1MttvPBhpf— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 17, 2019
Another breakaway save would add to the highlight reel for Carter Hart as he denied Ryan Donato after a real bad turnover by Travis Sanheim in his own zone as Boston more than double the Flyers’ shot output through 30 minutes.
GLOVE SAVE CARTER HART pic.twitter.com/cISWLUWdSd— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 17, 2019
With 4:28 left and still protecting a 3-2 lead, Hart would deny Carlo again on a dangerous Bruins rush up ice led by Brad Marchand. The Boston defender was active all evening jumping up on the rush.
Jori Lehtera would run Ryan Donato into the boards with 3:12 left in the second, picking up a major penalty and a game misconduct in the process for boarding and giving the Bruins a five-minute power play. Donato’s back was turned towards the boards and Lehtera had plenty of room to ease up before delivering the hit.
The Flyers would kill off the first 3:12 of Lehtera’s dangerous and idiotic penalty, leaving just 1:48 left on the five-minute major to start the third period.
After 40: Flyers 3, Bruins 2
More solid penalty killing to start the third as the Flyers killed off the remainder of the time left on Lehtera’s major, surviving a five-minute stretch where the Bruins could have scored at will.
That said, they’d head right back to the penalty kill with a bench minor not long after the end of Lehtera’s major. The Flyers had six on the ice for far too long, and that’s too much man.
On the ensuing power play, Hart denied Torey Krug on a long point shot thanks to solid positioning with a solid screen setup in front of the rookie netminder. The Flyers would snuff out the remainder of the Bruins’ power play time with another massive penalty kill while protecting their one-goal lead with 13:44 left in regulation.
Boston spent the third pressing hard for a tying goal, taking seven of the first eight shots to start the period through 10 minutes. The Bruins were approaching the 40 shot mark with the Flyers lagging far behind below the 20 mark.
That increased pressure and zone time would pay off in the form of yet another power play for Boston with eight minutes left in regulation. A hook in the neutral zone from Scott Laughton on Pastrnak broke up a Bruins rush, but resulted in Boston’s fourth power play of the night with a chance to tie the score.
As was the case much of the night, great work by the penalty kill would again turn away the Bruins’ power play as they generated a grand total of zero shots with Laughton in the box.
Boston would wish they scored on that power play, because Sean Couturier was ready to wish the visitors goodnight.
For the hat trick, Couturier fired home a shot on the 2-on-1 to beat Halak and extend the Flyers’ lead to 4-2 with 4:07 left. It’s the first hat trick for Couturier, and that makes it two in as many games for the Flyers with James van Riemsdyk registering the feat against Minnesota on Monday night.
Sean Couturier completes the hat trick! pic.twitter.com/et9AXYouAn— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) January 17, 2019
Peter Cehlarik would get one back with 1:06 left, brining the Bruins back to within one at 4-3 but with little time left. But that would be all for the scoring, with David Krejci taking a last second penalty to deny Couturier a chance at a fourth goal.
Final: Flyers 4, Bruins 3