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Flyers Sweep Penguins with Hart Making 31 Saves, Couturier Icing it in Overtime

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second time in as many attempts as they swept the home-and-home with back-to-back extra session victories. Sean Couturier iced the game in overtime after being set up by Travis Konecny for a 2-1 win.

Sidney Crosby opened the scoring before Tyson Foerster tied it up in the 2nd period. Carter Hart made 31 saves for his first win in 5 attempts and Alex Nedeljkovic made 31 stops in the losing effort. It’s yet another comeback victory for the Orange and Black, who were 0-10-2 to start the year in come from behind situations.

Fresh off the heels of a shootout victory at the PPG Arena in Pittsburgh, the Flyers welcomed their cross-state rivals into the confines of the Wells Fargo Center to settle the home-and-home.

After Samuel Ersson’s dazzling performance in goal, he made way for Carter Hart tonight who was looking to snap his 4-game skid. The lineup remained the same from Saturday’s contest meaning that Marc Staal was in and Egor Zamula was out. Louie Belpedio was placed on waivers in the hopes of being loaned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms earlier in the day.

As for the Penguins, it hasn’t been the season they were hoping for after failing to qualify for the post-season for the first time in the Sidney Crosby era last year. Their struggling power play went 0/5 last game but Jake Guentzel continued his run of success against the Orange and Black with 2 goals. In his career he has scored 12 goals and 28 points in 27 regular season contests against the Flyers entering tonight.

In goal, the Penguins replaced Tristan Jarry for Alex Nedeljkovic who entered tonight’s play with a 2.26 GAA and a .937 SV% in 4 games.


A much different start to this game with both teams trading early chances with Travis Konecny ripping a rush opportunity off the bar before Reilly Smith came down the wing and created a chance that forced Carter Hart out of his crease. Each team had 5 shots within the first 5 minutes compared to last game when the Penguins only had 3 in the first 20 minutes.

With 3:56 remaining in the opening period, Cam York iced the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty as Sidney Crosby was barring down on him with a big hit. In the early stages of the kill, Scott Laughton shovelled the puck out of the zone past Kris Letang, which allowed Konecny to jump on a breakaway but he was stopped by Alex Nedeljkovic.

The Flyers might have killed the penalty but the franchise killers in Crosby and Jake Guentzel jettisoned on an odd-man rush before the latter fed the former for an easy tap-in goal with just 47 seconds left. It was Crosby’s 15th goal of the season and 54th all-time against the Flyers in just 85 games.

Travis Sanheim pinched and Joel Farabee didn’t read it, which allowed Bryan Rust to find Guentzel on an odd-man rush with Crosby by his side and York the last man back.

The period ended with the Penguins taking full control in the latter half as they fired the 7 of the last 8 shots with the Flyers only having 1 in the final 10 minutes.


3:26 into the second period, the Flyers were guilty for having too many men on the ice. An identical breakaway opportunity arose for Konecny this time around as well – also set up by Laughton – but instead of making a move, Konecny ripped a shot that was padded aside by Nedeljkovic.

The shooting gallery opened up for the Flyers in the second period as they were outshooting the Penguins 10-1 in the first 7 minutes. Owen Tippett had 3 scoring chances of his own that he could not bury as Nedeljkovic was on his game early in this one.

The Flyers survived a dangerous 2-3 minutes spurt with the Penguins pressing and tired players in the Orange and Black stuck in their own zone. Carter Hart made several key stops which kept them in the game long enough for Tyson Foerster to tie the game with his patented hard snap-shot.

He banked the puck off the boards to Konecny who then fed it right back to Foerster off the rush for his 5th of the season and 2nd goal in as many games against the Penguins.

The Penguins turned the tables in short order and had the Flyers fretting for about 6 straight minutes and had it not been for Hart – again – they would have been in a dire situation. They were officially awarded 6 shots on goal in that stretch, Sanheim had a shift that lasted over 3 minutes, and Nicolas Deslauriers was trapped for about 2 and a half minutes, but they survived to tell the tale.

The period ended with the Flyers having tied the game, the Penguins held a 25-22 shot advantage through 40, and both goaltenders had been terrific with a very important third period ahead.


The Flyers came within inches of taking the lead midway through the third period but the scrum in front of the net created absolute chaos as the puck rolled through the blue paint. Then the next play Hart made a huge glove save to keep the score tied.

With 5:17 remaining in the final period of regulation, the Flyers received their first power play of the game after Radim Zohorna tripped up Sanheim in the defensive zone. Unfortunately, the power play was nixed 54 seconds in after York was whistled for a holding minor after Lars Eller ripped his way through the defenseman for a breakaway opportunity.

The Penguins pressed in the final few minutes but the shot blocking came to the rescue and if anything got through the defense, Hart had the answers. After 60 minutes, the game was tied at 1 with the Penguins having the slight edge at 30-29.


Konecny and Sean Couturier forced 3-4 turnovers against Crosby and the Penguins but couldn’t bury their chances. Sanheim then had a breakaway opportunity at the end of his shift but hit the post as he had Nedeljkovic beat.

After Crosby was denied on his net-front opportunity, the Penguins took a timeout. The Flyers responded with a face0ff win, banked it off the boards and jump-started an odd man rush for Konecny and Couturier, where the latter finished it off for his 2nd overtime winner of the season and 6th goal of the season.


The Flyers are off until Thursday when they open up their mini 3-game road trip with a game against the Arizona Coyotes (9:00pm ET, NBCSP).

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