Carter Hart made 33 saves and Cam Atkinson scored the game-winning goal less than a minute into overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Calgary Flames by a final score of 2-1 from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
The Flames had the better of the play early, and were finally able to capitalize with an Oliver Kylington goal about 10 minutes in on a dreaded deflection — this one off Sean Couturier. Carter Hart was left no chance on this one as the Flyers paid the price for a sluggish start.
Armed with a prime chance to tie things up the Flyers instead squandered a two-man advantage for 31 seconds following Kylington’s opener as the Jacob Markstrom and the Flames penalty kill locked all windows and doors.
Another failed power play would be on the books as the Flyers headed to the first intermission trailing the Flames by one.
After 20: Flames 1, Flyers 0
After taking a penalty to start the period, Scott Laughton had a chance to even things up after being hauled down on a quick developing breakaway.
But Markstrom swallowed up the penalty shot bid with ease — flashing a semi-double-pad stack on Laughton’s shot attempt as he faded away from the net looking for any room behind the hulking netminder.
No luck for Scott Laughton on the penalty shot pic.twitter.com/JeX2MSR2VZ— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 17, 2021
What the Flyers needed to solve the masked man in the Flames crease was a little touch of Hollywood magic.
Kevin Hayes’ cross-ice pass was rejected, but the puck careened right back to his stick where he fired it into the half empty cage that Markstrom had vacated in anticipation of the pass. Hayes pointed to the sky after this one, no doubt for his brother Jimmy.
At the other end it was simply the Carter Hart show in the second period, culminating with a sparkling multi-save effort shorthanded as the Flyers’ power play grew tired of not generating chances for themselves and decided to start to give them away as well.
Carter Hart seeing a Flames shorthanded 2-on-1 developing: pic.twitter.com/jL0Yc3IOgo— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 17, 2021
The happy returns for Hayes to the home faithful would be short lived as the pivot was felled awkwardly late in the second period on a — now cursed, apparently — Flyers power play and made his way gingerly off the ice and down the tunnel.
After 40 minutes Hayes’ equalizer and the outstanding play of Hart in net are about the only reasons the Flyers have any business being in the hockey game.
After 40: Flames 1, Flyers 1
Great news before the puck dropped in the third as Kevin Hayes returned to the Flyers bench after going off late in the second.
Also great early was a vintage Claude Giroux dangle around a Erik Gudbranson and nearly a highlight reel goal only to be bested by the Flames netminder. Close but no cigar for the Flyers captain.
Claude, that man has a family! pic.twitter.com/5UW7adcBgi— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) November 17, 2021
Giroux almost made everyone pregnant— Brian Coulter (@PhilaBCoulter) November 17, 2021
No lies detected, Mr. Coulter.
Iron detected for James van Riemsdyk near the 10-minute mark of the third as his shot on the 2-on-1 bid in with Couturier rang off the pipe behind Markstrom. Already tough enough to beat the Flames goalie without help from his friends next to him.
At the other end of the ice Hart was using his own equipment to deny a go-ahead goal, using his left pad to turn away local hockey man Johnny Gaudreau with around eight minutes remaining on a smooth wrap-around bid.
A final flurry from the Flyers was thwarted by Markstrom as he answered Hart and the two teams ended regulation gridlocked at 1-1.
After 60: Flames 1, Flyers 1
A quick strike on a 2-on-1 early in the extra session would net a game winner as Couturier’s shot off Markstrom’s pads careened right to the waiting stick of Cam Atkinson, who made no mistake in ending an eight-game goal scoring drought to earn an extra point for the Flyers.
Cam Atkinson more like Cam OTkinson! pic.twitter.com/2tBhaMxlQP— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) November 17, 2021
Final: Flyers 2, Flames 1
BSH Three stars:
1. Carter Hart
What can you say — 33 saves on 34 shots as he was the biggest reason the Flyers were in a position to win a hockey game.
2. Jacob Markstrom
Fantastic in the cage in his own right, Markstrom’s heavier workload was undermined by the more spectacular Hart — and that juicy rebound on the Atkinson goal.
3. Kevin Hayes
While Atkinson’s goal was the game-winner in the record books, it was a special night for Hayes as he scored his first goal since his brother’s passing. A first period goal against the Flames won’t heal all, but it surely felt good for Hayes as he pointed skyward for Jimmy.