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Atkinson Scores Twice, Hart Stops 22 as Flyers Defeat Oilers, 4-1

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Make it back-to-back complete game efforts and 3 in 4 games as the Philadelphia Flyers handled their business against the Edmonton Oilers.

The Orange and Black defeated the Oilers by a score of 4-1 thanks in large part to Cam Atkinson’s brace and Carter Hart’s 22 saves.

Joel Farabee opened the scoring after finishing off a give-and-go with Bobby Brink, and Atkinson then doubled the lead early in the 2nd period before Zach Hyman got Edmonton on the board. Sean Walker provided the dagger late in the second period with a shorthanded goal to recoup the 2-goal lead. Atkinson then finished off a beautiful breakaway play to give the Flyers an unassailable 3-goal lead with the Oilers looking frustrated from top-to-bottom.

The Flyers kept the Oilers to only 7 shots in the first period and 4 shots in the third, with Connor McDavid being held off the shot counter and Leon Draisaitl only firing 2 towards Hart. Travis Sanheim skated a team-high 27:03 TOI, Cam York was right behind him at 26:30, and Sean Couturier paced the forwards once again at 19:56.

The Flyers welcomed Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl into the confines of the Wells Fargo Center tonight with the hopes of completing the sweep of their mini home-stand before they set off to Dallas on Saturday. After a 4-2 victory to start the season, the Flyers dropped the ball in Ottawa over the weekend but showed out in a big way on Tuesday night with a complete 6o-minute effort against the Vancouver Canucks.

Morgan Frost, who was made a healthy scratch ahead of their home opener, remained in the press box and was joined by Egor Zamula as the Russian rear-guard made way for Emil Andrae with John Tortorella rotating the rookies again. The lines remained unchanged with Owen Tippett and Cam Atkinson on the wings with Sean Couturier down the middle, Travis Konecny and Tyson Foertser on Scott Laughton’s wings, Noah Cates centering Bobby Brink and Joel Farabee, and Nicolas Deslauriers, Ryan Poehling, and Garnet Hathaway taking their usual roles on the fourth line. Emil Andrae was paired up with Nick Seeler, Cam York with Travis Sanheim, and Marc Staal back with Sean Walker.

As for the Oilers, they dropped their first 2 games of the season to the Canucks in disappointing fashion with their goaltending becoming the early culprit. Jack Campbell, who had an atrocious first season in Edmonton last year, bounced back in a huge way in their recent game against Nashville as he stopped 42 shots en route to a big 6-1 victory with Draisaitl scoring 2 goals and 4 points and McDavid recording a goal and an assist.


The game started out relatively slow with the Flyers holding a 5-2 shot advantage in the first 8 minutes of the period. With how high powered the Oilers offense is, the Flyers were probably very pleased with how things started out as the Oilers barely had any offensive zone time.

The aggressiveness of the Flyers defense and forecheck seemed to have caught the Oilers by surprise as they continued to make the extra pass, slowing up as they entered the offensive zone, and were flat-footed in their own zone with the Flyers attacking shift after shift.

The Oilers started picking up the pace, but Carter Hart was able to stop every shot thrown his way which helped the Flyers regroup and take a late first period lead. Bobby Brink and Joel Farabee connected on a nifty give-and-go with the latter depositing his 2nd goal of the season into an open cage with 4:10 remaining.

Travis Sanheim started the play with a great defensive effort in the neutral zone as he chipped the puck forward to Farabee and away from Warren Foegele. Farabee entered the zone before dishing a sweet feed to Brink who came in on Campbell, froze the goaltender for a second, and passed it right back to Farabee for the goal.

With 2:38 remaining in the first period, Mattias Ekholm was called for a slashing minor on Cam Atkinson as he entered the offensive zone. The Flyers mustered up a few chances, but none all too dangerous for Jack Campbell as the Oilers penalty kill kept the Orange and Black at bay and the score at 1-0.


Only 3:54 into the second period, the Flyers struck to double their lead. Owen Tippett jumped on a turnover committed by Evan Bouchard in his own zone after he lost control of the puck. Tippett stole the puck, spun around the defenseman along the boards, and then fed a cross-seam pass to Cam Atkinson in the blue paint for the deflection for his 2nd goal of the season.

Right before Atkinson’s goal, Connor McDavid and Evander Kane collided, with the former gingerly heading back to the bench wincing in pain. A few minutes after Atkinson’s goal, Marc Staal crashed into the boards awkwardly and headed straight to the bench before going to the locker room.

Heading into the second commercial break, Cam York was found guilty for a holding penalty as he wrapped himself around Derek Ryan, who got off a dangerous scoring chance – fortunately thwarted by Carter Hart – with 9:38 remaining. The Oilers looked threatening in spurts but nothing all too difficult for Hart.

Shortly after the penalty kill, Mattias Ekholm was called for another minor penalty, this time a high-sticking infraction on Tyson Foerster with 7:03 left to play. With a golden opportunity to almost put the Oilers away with 25 minutes left to play in regulation, the Flyers power play produced another goose egg, keeping Edmonton in the game.

As fate would have it, Zach Hyman cut the deficit in half only a minute later. Hyman, who was camped in front of the net, was set-up by a pass from McDavid at the point that was actually deflected by Cody Ceci on it’s way to the net. Hyman made a spin-around move in tight and roofed it over Hart with 4:37 left in the period.

With 2:31 to go, the Oilers headed back to the power play after Atkinson was called for a tripping minor on Leon Draisaitl. The Flyers’ aggressive penalty kill finally found its way on the board, courtesy of Sean Walker. Sean Couturier picked off McDavid’s pass intended for Evan Bouchard, he then shovelled a pass to Walker who jettisoned on an odd-man rush with Farabee. Instead of trying to feed it to the goal-scorer in Farabee, the defenseman ripped a shot past Campbell for his first as a Flyer.

The trips to the penalty box continued as Darnell Nurse got his stick in the midsection of Laughton, who was flying into the zone after a great set up by Konecny with just 10 seconds left.


The Flyers power play – once again – produced nothing as they were barely even able to set up and whenever they were in the offensive zone, their passes weren’t crisp and the Oilers forced them to rim the puck around the boards.

Fortunately, the resiliency of the Flyers is strong and they didn’t let the power play’s ineffectiveness kick them down as Atkinson scored his 2nd of the game on a breakaway to give them a 4-1 lead.

Couturier picked up the loose puck along the boards after Hart’s clearing attempt off the glass hit an Oiler, fed it forward to Tippett who then found a streaking Atkinson splitting through the defense. After undressing Campbell, Atkinson slipped it through the five-hole for his 3rd of the season.

With 14:38 remaining in the third period and the Oilers looking extremely frustrated, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was called for a high-sticking minor on Bobby Brink. Perhaps 4th time was the charm as they fired 4 shots on goal and looked dangerous with the extra man for the first time in the game.

The rest of the period, the Flyers kept the Oilers at bay with the exception of a few shots, including a mini-breakaway for Warren Foegele that was gloved down by Hart. It was yet another resilient performance from the pesky Flyers as they improved to the tune of 3-1-0 to start the 2023-24 season.


The Flyers will head south to face the Dallas Stars on Saturday night at American Airlines Center as they embark on a 2-game mini-road trip.

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