Carter Hart shines as Flyers blank Devils, 4-0, in home opener

The first shutout in what should be many for the young netminder.

The Recap

Carter Hart got in on the action less than five minutes in, denying Will Butcher on a quick Devils counter after the Flyers turned it over in the neutral zone. Hart anticipated the cross-ice pass and made the first test of the game for either netminder look easy.

After the first long stoppage of this one near the seven-minute mark the Flyers paid homage to Wayne Simmonds with a video tribute on the sweet new jumbotron. Fans at the WFC stood and cheered as they thanked Mr. Train for a terrific eight years of service in the Orange and Black. He got booed the rest of the period.

(I’m not crying, you’re crying. Thank you for everything, Simmer)

With the first period moving quickly and neither team super intent on lighting the lamp, the Flyers would get a prime opportunity thanks to some prime stupidity thanks to Miles Wood of the Devils roughing up Tyler Pitlick for no particular reason 9:29 in. Wood’s minor wouldn’t result in a Flyers goal, but it did result in some tilting of the ice as the good guys generated some spicy zone time on the power play.

That momentum wouldn’t last long though, as the Flyers spent the rest of the first 20 struggling with an aggressive Devils forecheck that resulted in a couple icing calls and some hairy puck handling in front of Hart. It culminated with a dandy stop from Hart on Taylor Hall right in front after a sweet dish from Nikita Gusev with 1:50 left.

Look we all know the Flyers and Devils love to screw with us and not score on purpose, because that’s the only explanation for whatever Sean Couturier is doing here, right? Early in the second and still scoreless, despite the absurd patience of Coots.

After watching Coots refuse to shoot, Claude Giroux nearly broke the ice with a majestic backhand chance that rang off iron behind Cory Schneider. The captain then fired a one-timer just wide on the same shift, getting the Flyers’ two best scoring chances since early in the first as we passed six minutes into the second frame.

With 12:01 left in the first the Flyers would head back to the power play with Gusev off for slashing. A couple close calls wouldn’t go as the Flyers just couldn’t buy one with JVR and Kevin Hayes both narrowly missed.

Those narrow misses were soon forgotten with an absolute rocket from Ivan Provorov past Schneider to make it 1-0 Flyers with 10:08 left in the period as the Flyers’ second power play unit delivered the goods. Helpers to Matt Niskanen and Travis Konecny on Provorov’s first of the season.

Trying to double the Flyers’ lead, Michael Raffl clanked one off the post behind Scheider on another beautiful backhand attempt. Another spicy move ruined by the iron behind a beat netminder, what a shame.

Another shame, taking back-to-back penalties late in the second to give the Devils a 5-on-3 for a full two minutes essentially. First was to Coots for a delay of game and then the next to Hayes for a violation on the ensuing faceoff.

But there’s one problem for the Devils, and it’s Carter Hart. Down two men, he’d go post-to-post and rob Hall blind with the glove hand to preserve the lead. Hart’s heroics to start the penalty kill would fuel the rest of the kill as the Flyers survived with a 1-0 lead after 40 and bring the WFC crowd to its feet once again. Unreal stuff from No. 79 in your program and No. 1 in your hearts.

The Flyers would get that second goal, though, and super early into the third period as Hayes potted his first in the Orange and Black just 33 seconds in. It was a power play goal, and one a long time coming after a strong first two periods for Hayes in his home debut.

But that wasn’t all as they’d pile on another in the first minute with Couturier cleaning up in front of Schneider to make it 3-0 Flyers. Given the momentum that they gained from Hart’s save on Hall and the killing off of the 5-on-3, it was no wonder to see the Flyers get things going offensively.

The Flyers weren’t done scoring in this one, as Travis Konecny kept rolling by potting home his third of the season after a bad Devils turnover in front to make it 4-0 Flyers with about eight minutes left. TK certainly earning that training camp contract extension through two games to say the least.

A late Devils power play would go by the wayside and despite the best attempts of the NBCSN broadcast crew to jinx it, Carter Hart would preserve his first career shutout as the Flyers took it by a final of 4-0.

Three stars

1. Carter Hart

Hart was magnificent in stopping all 24 shots he faced, and none more important than the big save on Taylor Hall to swing momentum and propel the Flyers to a win in their home opener. This guy’s good, folks.

2. Travis Konecny

Another multi-point effort from TK in this one with a goal and an assist and he’s really starting fast off that brand-new contract extension ahead of camp. He’s going to be an important part of the roster this season and he’s off to a great start.

3. Ivan Provorov

That opening goal was put home with authority, and hopefully signals that Provy is back to showing some of the offensive fireworks he put on a couple seasons ago, and also with much to prove after signing a big contract extension.

GIF of the night

We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!