Sanheim’s Brace, Hart’s 41 Saves, 3 Goals in 121 Seconds Propel Flyers Over Panthers, 6-3
The Philadelphia Flyers have now won 2 of their last 3 games and have earned points in 3 straight after a 6-3 victory against the Florida Panthers, snapping their 7-game point streak in a very important game for their Wild Card race.
Carter Hart was spectacular again with 41 saves, Travis Sanheim scored 2 goals, and the Flyers ran away with the game after scoring 3 goals in 2:01 late in the second period, which gave them an unassailable 5-2 lead with 20 minutes to play.
Matthew Tkachuk opened the scoring only 75 seconds into the game but that was matched by Joel Farabee 3 minutes later, who now has goals in 3 straight games after going goalless in 26 straight before. Travis Sanheim then scored the first of his 2 goals midway through the second period that was matched by Brandon Montour with 5 minutes left to play. The goals kept on coming but they came from one side of the ice as Scott Laughton, Sanheim, and Ivan Provorov scored 3 goals in 121 seconds to put the Panthers on their heels heading into the third period.
Sam Reinhart made things interesting after he scored with 1 second remaining on a Nick Seeler minor penalty and with the net empty with 6 minutes still to play. The Panthers threw everything they could at Hart, who registered another 40+ save effort against Florida. They outshot the Flyers 44-24 in the game and 17-3 in the third, but Hart kept his ground and allowed his offense all the opportunities to ice the game with the net empty.
Morgan Frost iced the game with 2:01 left and that was all she wrote. Farabee and Frost each recorded a goal and an assist, Noah Cates, Egor Zamula, and Tyson Foerster each recorded 2 assists, Sanheim had 2 goals, Laughton and Provorov provided insurance markers, and Brendan Lemieux and Tony DeAngelo each recorded a helper.
The Philadelphia Flyers welcomed the Florida Panthers into the confines of the Wells Fargo Center for game 4 of 7 of their season-long homestand. For those wanting to have seen the Flyers plummet further down in the standings to better their chances at drafting Connor Bedard, the Orange and Black collected 3 of 4 points on the weekend after taking down the Buffalo Sabres and then losing in overtime to the Carolina Hurricanes.
It could’ve been worse considering the Flyers were three tenths of a second away from collecting all 4 points. Nevertheless, it was a youthful rejuvenation of sorts as Tyson Foerster, Morgan Frost, Joel Farabee, and Owen Tippett have been relishing in the moment with John Tortorella making way for the young players.
The lineup remained mostly the same as Saturday with 2 changes: Carter Hart returned in goal after making way for Felix Sandström on the back-end of a back-to-back, and Egor Zamula entered the lineup as the 7th defenseman after being recalled yesterday. Hart was spectacular in his last start against the Sabres after claiming his 18th win of the season with a 36-save performance that included 19 saves in the final frame and 10 in the final 2 minutes.
As for the Florida Panthers, things seemed rather bleak only a few months ago but they had since gone on a scorching-hot run that had seen them take sole possession of the second and final spot in the Wild Card race. They had won 3 in a row before tonight, 7 of their last 10, and going all the way back to the New Year, they were 20-9-3.
They are paced by the prolific Matthew Tkachuk, who entered this game 4th in the NHL in points with 95 and tied for 5th in assists with 62. Linemate Carter Verhaeghe led the team with 36 goals and is 2nd with 63 points, followed by captain Aleksander Barkov, who had 43 assists and 61 points in just 56 games.
The Panthers also have Brandon Montour with 58 points and Sam Reinhart with 26 goals and 52 points. Aaron Ekblad has had somewhat of a disappointing season with just 30 points in 58 games. Alex Lyon got the nod against his former team after Sergei Bobrovsky made the start and recorded the victory last night in their 5-2 victory against the Detroit Red Wings.
Well, it only took the Florida Panthers’ top line 75 seconds to get on the board after some nifty tic-tac-toe passing stunned the sleepy Philadelphia Flyers to open the game.
After jumping on a Morgan Frost turnover from right outside the blue-line, Eetu Luostarinen entered the offensive zone before sending a cross-ice pass to Carter Verhaeghe on the opposite side, who then sent a seed of a pass to a streaking Matthew Tkachuk for a deft and quick deflection past Carter Hart for his 34th goal of the season and 96th point.
this is a scheduled tweet pic.twitter.com/5Myyrt3GYv
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) March 21, 2023
Then 13 seconds later, James van Riemsdyk was whistled down for a holding minor, sending the 11th best power play unit to work. They fired 5 shots on goal during the man advantage, 4 of which belonged to Carter Verhaeghe, but the Flyers lived to tell the tale.
4:43 into the game, the Flyers tied things up thanks to none other than Joel Farabee – goals in 3 consecutive games. Owen Tippett started the play with a golden opportunity in the slot that was gloved down by Alex Lyon, however the Flyers recovered the rebound and cycled. Egor Zamula found Noah Cates who took a simple shot from the point with traffic in front of the net and it worked to perfection because the shot was then deflected by Farabee at the front of the net for his 12th of the season.
That's goals in 3️⃣ straight for Beezer. #FLAvsPHI | @FarabeeJoel pic.twitter.com/nLt0WyhHr6
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 21, 2023
1:39 after tying the game, Tippett came rushing into the offensive zone with another dangerous scoring chance but he was slashed on his way to the net by Gustav Forsling, sending the Flyers onto their first power play of the game at the 6:22 mark.
The 32nd-ranked power play went toe-to-toe with the 27th-ranked penalty killing unit of the Florida Panthers that had allowed 14 power play goals against in their last 14 games and killing penalties at a 66.7% clip in that span. It took them awhile to get set up or anything going offensively but near the end of Forsling’s minor, James van Riesmdyk tried setting up Farabee in the slot with a pass from below the goal-line and then he himself had a redirection attempt from a nice setup from Morgan Frost after the ensuing faceoff.
With the Panthers swarming around Carter Hart, Tony DeAngelo was called for a slashing minor at the 12:35 mark with Givani Smith walking past Scott Laughton and DeAngelo while barring down on the goaltender.
The Panthers’ offense was looking dangerous again and the tic-tac-toe passing kept catching the Flyers off-guard, but fortunately not Hart as he robbed Sam Reinhart in the slot on his one-time opportunity after being set up by Tkachuk and Barkov.
Then Anton Lundell came in all alone on Hart but the young net-minder stopped the shot for his 15th save of the period with 5 minutes still remaining. They survived another penalty kill but were playing a dangerous game if they kept allowing this power play onto the ice.
The period ended in a 1-1 stalemate and even though the Panthers held a 19-10 shot advantage, the Flyers played a pretty good first 20 minutes. Florida opened the game with the first 7 shots in the first 4 minutes and after killing off van Riemsdyk’s minor, the Flyers got their feet wet and were pressuring the defense and Alex Lyon.
Buckling down defensively and mitigating and at least thwarting the Panthers’ incessant dangerous scoring opportunities had to be at forefront of John Tortorella’s intermission speech. You can’t stop them from shooting, evidenced by their league leading 36.9 shots per game – they also led the league in shots in consecutive seasons – but leaving Hart on an island to stop that many pucks is not a recipe for success.
Nevertheless, on the bright side, Owen Tippett, Joel Farabee, and Ivan Provorov were extremely noticeable in the best way possible.
The Panthers continued their offensive swarm and as they hit the 4-5 minute mark of the second period, the Flyers were flailing around their own zone and had it not been for Carter Hart, the Panthers would’ve easily scored on one of their 4 scoring chances that was culminated by a huge glove save on Radko Gudas.
Even with all the pressure being on one side of the ice, it was Philadelphia who ended up taking the lead with their first bit of sustained pressure in the offensive zone of the second period.
Morgan Frost turned it over below the goal-line after he tried rimming a pass behind the Panthers’ net, however on the clearing attempt from Radko Gudas, the puck hit Frost in the face. As Frost was hunched over and heading towards the bench, Gudas was trying to corral the loose puck but Brendan Lemieux beat him to it, outmuscled him for the puck, and then set up Travis Sanheim at the other side of the net for his 6th of the season – after he previously robbed during this lengthy offensive zone shift.
Sanny elevates and strikes. #FLAvsPHI | @sanheim17 pic.twitter.com/MuacDwImO3
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 22, 2023
On the very next shift, Wade Allison stole the puck near his own blue-line, made a nifty saucer move over Aaron Ekblad that set him up for a breakaway opportunity, however Lyon made the big stop to keep their deficit at 1.
Brandon Montour’s career-season continued after he tied up the game for his 59th point of the season, which is only 3 points from Keith Yandle’s franchise record in a single season. The offensive defenseman crept up near the faceoff dot before being set up by Aleksander Barkov from behind the net for his 13th of the season and 2nd in as many games against the Flyers this year.
Monty madness 🔥 pic.twitter.com/pCkvEhHF6O
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) March 22, 2023
Barkov started the play with a shot near the point that went wide but it was recovered by Sam Reinhart, who fed it back to the captain. He walked all the way back up and behind the net before setting up Montour’s quick one-timer that was deflected off the leg of Ivan Provorov who was skating into the crease and past Carter Hart with 5:33 remaining.
A little over 2 minutes later, Scott Laughton scored his 16th of the season – a career high and first in 7 games – on a very crafty backhand in close quarters on Alex Lyon.
Sarge and the silky mitts. #FLAvsPHI | @Laughts21 pic.twitter.com/6Krv6aGELZ
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 22, 2023
Tony DeAngelo set him up as he was entering the offensive zone, his pass was deflected by a diving Panther defenseman, which allowed Laughton to corral the puck and walk in unimpeded before deking Lyon out of his jock strap with 3:06 remaining in the period. Zamula picked up the secondary assist for his 2nd of the night and 4th on the season.
1:11 later, Travis Sanheim scored his second of the game after he finished off the garbage in front of the net. Noah Cates was driving towards the net but was stopped from getting a shot on goal by Forsling and Ekblad.
However, the defensive-minded centre recovered the puck after stripping it from Forsling behind the net, he threw it out in front, before Sanheim chipped it over the goaltender for his 7th of the season with 1:55 remaining. Joel Farabee recorded the secondary assist for his 2nd point of the game.
That's ✌️ thus far, @Sanheim17.#FLAvsPHI | #FueledByPhilly pic.twitter.com/ldoV2jeJ6A
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 22, 2023
The goals kept pouring out because Ivan Provorov joined the goal-parade for their 3rd goal in 2:01 after being set up by Morgan Frost from below the faceoff dot – only 50 seconds after Sanheim’s second goal.
Provy's pouring it on. 🔥🔥🔥#FLAvsPHI | #FueledByPhilly pic.twitter.com/2P1hK9Fdfq
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) March 22, 2023
It was Lemieux with another impactful play and shift as he stole the puck near the blue-line, fed it to Frost who had to control the pass, and as Frost threw it towards Provorov, Tyson Foerster actually deflected the puck down. The puck eventually reached Provorov who was going hard towards the net and the Russian rear-guard made a strong move before dangling his stick around the out-stretched pad of Alex Lyon for his 5th of the season with 1:05 remaining.
The Flyers entered the second intermission leading 5-2 over the Panthers after a 4 goal period that was culminated by 3 goals in a 2 minute span with less than 4 minutes remaining in the period.
As expected, the Panthers started throwing the kitchen sink towards Carter Hart and were subsequently outshooting the Flyers 8-1 in the first 8 minutes.
Unfortunately for them, they were whistled down for another minor penalty after Aaron Ekblad slashed Kevin Hayes with 11:31 remaining in the third period. Nothing came out of the power play for the Flyers, but Lemieux and Gudas finally dropped the gloves after 2+ periods of barking and pushing.
Brendan Lemieux drops the gloves with Flyers legend Radko Gudas. pic.twitter.com/exthMCqrLv
— Ryan Quigley (@ryanquigz) March 22, 2023
Lemieux was given the extra minor for instigating, sending the Panthers back on the power play with 9:02 remaining.
With 1:08 remaining in the initial minor, Nick Seeler lost his balance and tripped Verhaeghe behind the net in a scary-looking collision as the Panthers were given a golden opportunity to claw their way back into the game with 8:10 left on the clock.
Carter Hart was just on a different level tonight making save after save as the Panthers were finding good looks. He made 48 saves in his lone performance against the Panthers earlier in the season, and with back-to-back stops on Barkov with 7:34 left, he was at 38 for the night.
As the first minor was coming to a close, Paul Maurice pulled Alex Lyon for the extra attacker but they were caught offside a few moments later, so Lyon had to return back onto the ice.
With 1 second left on Seeler’s minor and with the net still empty, Sam Reinhart ripped a hard shot from the slot to cut the deficit to 2 with 6:20 remaining in regulation. Aleksander Barkov made the safe yet simple play with bodies in front of the net, as he just threw it towards Hart. He made the save but Reinhart scooped up the rebound and made no mistake as his shot hit the post before going in for his 27th goal of the season and 2nd point of the game. Montour recorded the secondary assist for his 60th point of the season.
Reinhart's 27th goal of the season. pic.twitter.com/WQRATVNdHd
— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) March 22, 2023
With a shade over 4 minutes to go, Montour set up Verhaeghe with a perfect cross-ice pass as he was streaking towards the net unmarked and untouched. Hart made a spectacular pad save, keeping the Panthers off the board with his 40th stop of the night and 13th of the period.
Maurice pulled his netminder yet again with 4 minutes left and Owen Tippett and Joel Farabee had a marvelous chance to ice the game, but Tippett made one too many passes with a yawning cage in front of him as his pass was in the skates of Farabee.
With 2:24 left, Travis Sanheim iced the puck but it didn’t come to bite them because of a strong defensive play by Tyson Foerster. The rookie blocked a shot and then backhanded a pass to Frost who was all alone on a breakaway with an open cage in front of him as he secured his 14th of the season with 2:01 still to play.
The Flyers earned their 26th win of the season, and Carter Hart earned his 19th of the year as the youthful renaissance has kicked into high gear in Philadelphia.
The Flyers will host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night (6:30pm ET, NBCSP) on their final Throwback Thursday night of the season.