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Flyers stay hot, down Red Wings again to complete home-and-home sweep

Inside the Flyers’ 3-1 win in Detroit over the Red Wings with seven things we learned as the hot stretch continues.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Philadelphia Flyers John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Carter Hart made 37 saves and Oskar Lindblom provided two goals as the Flyers beat the Red Wings by a 3-1 final Sunday night in Detroit. The win is the Flyers’ 12th in their last 14 games as they continue to push up the standings in the crowded Eastern Conference.

Hart was phenomenal, again, and Phil Myers made his NHL debut (finally)! More on those two and much more here below with seven observations from last nights proceedings from Little Caesars Arena.

Carter Hart continues to defy expectations

Gonna sound like a broken record here but what else can you say about the Flyers’ 20-year-old rookie netminder at this point? All he did in his first career back-to-back was shut the door on the Red Wings to the tune of 37 saves on 38 shots as the Flyers were once again largely outplayed, but skated away with two points thanks to his superb work between the pipes.

Though the Flyers had the jump on things early, that energy faded fast and the Red Wings carried play most of the evening. The Flyers managed just 23 shots, with 10 of those coming in the first period while the Red Wings peppered Hart with at least 12 shots in each frame. But Hart stood tall, and got some help from the iron behind him to improve to 10-1-0 in his last 11 starts.

Hart continues to impress each and every time he’s out there and especially in this one given that he wasn’t at his best on Saturday. Some teams can count on their goalie to “steal” a game or two, and that hasn’t been the case with the Flyers in quite some time, but all that has changed since Carter Hart appeared on the scene with the big club.

He’s also a real sweet fellow, just see below.

Oskar’s Wild

If Carter Hart was the first star, then Oskar Lindblom had to be a close second. The rugged forward started the scoring in the first period and then added the kill shot with an empty netter to put the Red Wings away for good late in the third.

They were goals nine and 10 on the season for Lindblom, who worked hard for both. First he drove the net and fought for positioning on Nick Jensen to poke home a Sean Couturier centering pass and then he potted the empty netter with Dylan Larkin trying unsuccessfully to drag him down from behind.

In between his two goals his line got unexpectedly burned to the tune of a collective Corsi For of just 18.75%, but on a night where most every Flyers line was throttled by the Red Wings, you’ll take the production given that the Lindblom/Couturier/Jake Voracek line doesn’t get dominated often.

That’s now 11 points in his last 21 games for Lindblom after just 11 points in his first 37 games of the season. He’s starting to find his niche on that line and continues to do the little things on nightly basis that help make himself and others around him have success.

Ghost meet doghouse?

Could Shayne Gostisbehere have found his way into interim coach Scott Gordon’s doghouse? Well a quick look at the ice time from Sunday shows Ghost with just 12:18 of total ice time, second least among defenseman to only Phil Myers’ 9:53. Now the Flyers did dress seven defenseman on the night with Myers’ debut, but Ghost drawing far less time than anyone not making their NHL debut is tough to process, nevertheless.

It’s not as if the Flyers were taking penalties left and right, causing Ghost to sit while the penalty killers like Ivan Provorov, Robert Hagg, Andrew MacDonald, and Radko Gudas got all the ice time. Much of the game was played at 5-on-5 and even strength and yet here we are with Ghost getting saddled with time around a guy making his first NHL appearance.

Perhaps there is a rift of sorts between coach and player, as could be the case given the comments after Saturday’s game. Maybe it’s nothing and adding another defenseman threw things of kilter, but it certainly does look like something.

And all coming after Ghost played one of his better games of the season in the thriller on Saturday afternoon. Crazy.

Phil of the present

Ah, the old lonely lap for the guy making his debut. It’s been a long time coming for Phil Myers, and while Carter Hart almost blew it by heading right out there with him, Myers got his moment with his parents in attendance.

It wasn’t much of a debut, though, with a little under 10 minutes of ice time for the big defenseman as the Flyers chose to roll with an extra defenseman and scratch Justin Bailey for this one. Myers didn’t have a ton of chances to show off, but he was calm and efficient in moving the puck early on but saw sporadic action as the game wore on, likely due to the absolute necessity to try and steal points on the road in the second half of a back-to-back.

Given how some other Flyers defensemen looked in this one, Myers could figure to find more ice time in the near future as the both Andrew MacDonald and Robert Hagg really struggled once again. Gordon knows Myers well from his time in Lehigh Valley and perhaps Myers will get more ice time after he gets a few more practices with the big club under his belt here in the next few days.

In any event it’s great to see Myers get this chance and from what we’ve seen out of his development and skill set, it won’t be long before he’s an NHL regular.

Sean Couturier, 200-foot man

The man who will never breakout offensively just continues to, well, breakout offensively. With two more assists in this one, Couturier now has 54 points in 57 games and eight points in his last five games. That’s red-hot, and that point production comes along with his usual solid defensive performance though his line did get a bit of the run-around.

What’s great about this setup from Couturier is that it starts way back in his own zone and shows off his many talents. He carries the puck from his own zone all the way to the opposing net mouth while shielding the puck the whole way with strength. But throughout he shows the patience to let the play develop and then hit Lindblom with a perfect feed for the eventual goal.

Couturier is by no means a burner, but he can control the game at his pace and can make plays like that where he impacts all 200 feet of the ice. He’s a special player and rolling of late, carrying the Flyers offense while Carter Hart holds things down at the other end.

Nothing but a Grit thing

If Cup contenders were smitten with Wayne Simmonds before, then they’re probably head over heels after watching him take Anthony Mantha to task over his cheap shot on Claude Giroux from Saturday.

Give Mantha credit for answering the bell, but Simmonds again shows the value his leadership has for the Flyers and for perhaps any team that might add him at the trade deadline. Despite a down year goal scoring-wise, Simmonds provides all the intangibles that you could ever want in a player and is a nasty customer come playoff time.

Good team with Cup aspirations could do far worse than adding Simmonds for some extra depth scoring, a power play ace, and a guy who will be the first one to help provide security for top stars. Teams like the Bruins, Lightning, Predators, and Maple Leafs should all be banging down Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher’s door for the chance to add him.

Hockey Day in America

On a day showcasing the coolest game on earth in the states, Andrew MacDonald provided the national audience with exactly what not to do in your own zone. For the low cost of $5 million per season, you too can do the AMac slide.