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Svechnikov’s Early Goal, Kochetkov’s 19 Saves Keys in 1-0 Shutout Victory Against Flyers

(Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press)

The Philadelphia Flyers were shutout in Raleigh tonight after Andrei Svechnikov and the Carolina Hurricanes were able to secure the 1-0 win.

Svechnikov opened the scoring 2 minutes into the game after Kevin Hayes was whistled down for a holding minor. Carolina looked poised for a big victory but that was all she wrote in terms of the goal scoring as the rest of the game belonged to the defense and goaltending. Felix Sandström earned the hard-luck loss making 28 saves on 29 shots for his 9th regulation defeat this season but was the biggest factor as to why this game didn’t get out of hand. Pyotr Kochetkov was rarely tested tonight but made the key saves – 19 in total – when presented as he secured his 11th win and 4th shutout of the season in just 20 games. Tyson Foerster took 2 shots on goal, blocked 3 shots, and played 13:51 in his NHL debut, while his running mate, Elliot Desnoyers, played in 15:24.

After having to do battle against one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference on Tuesday night in Tampa Bay, the Philadelphia Flyers entered the belly of the beast in Raleigh to face off against the Metropolitan-leading Carolina Hurricanes – who are also 2nd only to the Boston Bruins in the NHL. The Flyers fell to Tampa Bay on Tuesday by a score of 5-2, we witnessed 2nd period benchings for Travis Sanheim and Joel Farabee, the penalty kill allowed 3 goals on 5 opportunities, and Tony DeAngelo eventually got suspended for his late-game spear on Corey Perry.

So tonight, the Flyers went with Felix Sandström in goal – playing in only his second game since January 24th – Justin Braun remained in the lineup but this time as the 6th defenseman with DeAngelo out, and Brendan Lemieux and Wade Allison were dealing with upper-body injuries, which led to the subsequent emergency call-ups of Elliot Desnoyers and Tyson Foerster – the latter making his NHL debut. Foerster was on the wing with Scott Laughton and Noah Cates and Desnoyers was in the middle between James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes. Kieffer Bellows also returned to the lineup with the Flyers going back to the 12/6 setup as he was placed on the fourth line with Nicolas Deslauriers and Tanner Laczynski.

The Hurricanes called up Pyotr Kochetkov on an emergency basis after Antti Raanta suffered an injury in their last game against the Montreal Canadiens and he tended the twine opposite of Felix Sandström. Carolina entered tonight winning 3 straight games, having won of 8 of their previous 10, ranked 2nd in goals allowed, 1st in shots allowed, 3rd best penalty killing unit, 13th best power play, 3rd in shots on goal, and 7th in goals scored, not too shabby but also something to think about with the Flyers having only scored 46 goals in their previous 21 games – only 23 of them coming from their “top guns” in Morgan Frost, Owen Tippett, James van Riemsdyk, Joel Farabee, Kevin Hayes, and Scott Laughton.


1:19 into the game, Kevin Hayes was called for a holding minor in the offensive zone, sending out the Hurricanes power play for their first opportunity tonight. 49 seconds into the man advantage and 2:09 into the game, Andrei Svechnikov finished off a tic-tac-toe play in the slot over the glove of Sandström for his 23rd of the year as the Hurricanes quickly took a 1-0 lead.

The Hurricanes were zipping passes around the zone, having the Flyers looking a little tight in the slot, but eventually Martin Nečas and Brent Burns set up the young Russian in his new-found bumper role for the early goal.

Ivan Provorov was then called for a delay of game penalty with 9:54 remaining in the period. Tempers quickly flared after Nick Seeler cross-checked Stefan Noesen twice during the first 1:21 of the man advantage in front of Felix Sandström. The goaltender had to make two big saves, one on a Svechnikov one-timer to his left and another bomb from Necas to his right with Noesen and Seeler roughhousing in front of him. Both players were called for coincidental minors.

The Flyers killed off Provorov’s penalty and were actually outshooting the Hurricanes 6-4 but were whistled down for their third penalty shortly after courtesy of a tripping minor on Morgan Frost with 3:59 remaining in the first period. The Hurricanes nearly spent the entirety of the power play in the Flyers zone but only wired one shot on net – a dangerous net-front one-timer by Svechnikov set up by Noesen behind the net – with the rest of their chances missing the net high and wide.

With the period coming to a close, Sebastian Aho set up Svechnikov with a cross-crease one-time opportunity, but the sharpshooter just missed his bid for his second goal of the period. He was all over the Flyers in the first 20 minutes, had 3 shots on goal, missed another 3-4 chances high and wide including 3 in the first minute of their third power play, and also had 2 hits in 7:12 of ice time.

The Canes entered the intermission with a 1-0 lead, were tied in shots 6-6 with the Flyers being held without one in the final 7 minutes, and held a 3-0 power play advantage which usually evens out the rest of the game – something to examine for the Flyers moving forward.


Carolina came out firing in the first 3 minutes with their top line of Aho, Svechnikov, and Seth Jarvis causing a commotion in the Flyers zone. The Hurricanes had 5 shots, all dangerous chances, but at the end of their sequence, Svechnikov went out to reach for a puck with Kevin Hayes in the middle of the zone and as he sprawled out he hurt something as he was on the ice in visible pain. He was eventually helped off the ice but made a quick return to the bench. The Hurricanes continued their surge as they fired 9 shots on goal in the first 6 minutes as they headed towards their first commercial break.

With the game still within reach and the Flyers finally getting their feet wet in the second period, Joel Farabee was sprung on a breakaway as he was looking to finally snap his 23-game goalless drought. Unfortunately, his deke and attempted five-hole shot was stopped by Kochetkov, keeping the deficit intact and Farabee off the scoreboard yet again.

With less than 4 and a half minutes remaining, Jarvis was set up with a cross-crease one-time opportunity that was stick checked to perfection by Tyson Foerster, who then blocked an open-net bomb from Svechnikov as the Hurricanes cycled the puck around, keeping the deficit at 1.

The period came to a close with the Hurricanes still leading 1-0, they outshot Philadelphia 15-7 in the second period and were ahead 21-13 heading into the third, however the Flyers survived unscathed largely in part due to Felix Sandström stopping several ten-bell opportunities.


The third period started as expected with tight checking, strong forechecking, the neutral zone being clogged up for both teams, and blocked shots whenever teams finally did traverse into the offensive zone.

Felix Sandström, who has not had great success in his young career, has been snakebitten by his offense as he had only had 24 goals of support in his 14 losses entering tonight and 29 goals of support total if you figure in his lone victory that came against the St. Louis Blues this season. He had kept the Flyers in this game from the get-go and it was high-time for the offense to pick up their slack with their first power play of the game being called with 9:42 remaining in the the third period.

Jesper Fast was whistled down for a tripping minor but it represented a tall task with the 2nd-ranked penalty killing unit going out there against the 32nd-ranked power play. The Flyers failed to record a shot on goal as they were barely able to set up in the offensive zone with the aggressive penalty kill doing their job.

The Hurricanes got a jolt of energy after the expiration of Jesper Fast’s minor as they fired 2 dangerous scoring chances towards Sandström but he thwarted them both, making saves 25 and 26 in the process. With the pressure mounting, the Hurricanes went back to the power play after the Flyers were guilty of having too many men on the ice with 5:40 left on the clock. The Flyers lived to tell the tale but the Hurricanes power play was all over the zone, zipping passes and chances towards the net but were definitely aided by 3-4 clearing chances not finding their way out of the zone.

John Tortorella pulled Sandström with 2:06 remaining, but the Flyers were not able to sustain any kind of pressure in the offensive zone, even with the extra attacker.

The Flyers failed to record a single shot on goal in the final 128 seconds with the extra skater and eventually succumbed to the final horn as they dropped a close 1-0 game to the Hurricanes.

Kochetkov made 19 saves for the shutout but was barely tested, Sandström once again received no help from his offense as he made 28 saves in the loss, as the Hurricanes secured their first shutout in 83 meetings against Philadelphia dating back to November 23rd, 2000.


The Flyers travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins on Saturday afternoon (3:30pm ET, ABC) in the final installment of this season’s Battle of Pennsylvania.

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