Philadelphia Flyers: Big Metro Division win over Carolina

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Flyers are now tied for first place in the Metropolitan Division and have run their winning streak to eight games after coasting to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Just another night at the office for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Facing a rested and desperate Carolina Hurricanes club, the Flyers completely shut them down to move into a share of first in the Metropolitan Division by virtue of Washington‘s overtime loss to the Rangers on Thursday. The Flyers and Caps sport identical records (40-20-7), but Washington’s one extra regulation win gives them the tiebreaker at the moment, even though we all know who the better team is.

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A night after beating those Caps, the Flyers could have been excused for looking tired on Thursday in what set up as a potential “trap” game. But once Ivan Provorov opened the scoring late in the first period, this one was in the bag. Carolina scored early in the third to make it a 2-1 game, and for a brief moment there was a slight bit of doubt in the outcome. Yet the Flyers came right back, potting two goals in 26 seconds to put it away. At 4-1, the rest of the game was a formality.

Carter Hart has now run his outstanding home record to 19-2-2 this year after making 28 saves on Thursday. He didn’t have to be great, and he was certainly aided by the fact that the Flyers stayed out of the box and didn’t allow any Carolina power plays. But a .966 save percentage on the night is going to get the job done almost every time.

The Flyers really exploited the Hurricanes’ goaltending situation in this one, as unproven Alex Nedeljkovic looked uncomfortable in just his third NHL start. Carolina, of course, lost both of their regular goalies to injury in the same game recently. They won that game, but have now dropped four straight since then. Carolina made some big moves before the deadline, but they look to be in disarray thanks to the goalie situation and the losses of top D-men Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce. The Flyers smelled blood in the water, and they didn’t let up on the night.

Scott Laughton was rewarded for his 2-assist effort with the first star of the game. It’s been a great season for the 25-year old centerman, as 27 points in 47 games is a nice scoring rate on top of everything else he provides for the team.

Laughton was the only Flyer to pick up more than a single point in the game, and nine others got on the score sheet besides him. What balance. On the “New Guy Watch”, Derek Grant and Nate Thompson each picked up a helper. Grant now has five points in his last three games, while Thompson’s assist was his first point as a Flyer. Also of note, Grant’s 16:24 of ice time placed him third among Flyer forwards. He’s clearly impressing his new coaches.

Right now, it seems like the Flyers might never lose another game. I’m sure you can get pretty good odds on that, and it’s going to happen eventually, but they are playing a brand of hockey not seen in this town for a long time. The Flyers haven’t looked and played like this in, conservatively, half a decade. And it’s probably been considerably longer than that, to be honest.

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Nothing is clinched or set in stone at this point, but I think we can blow right past punching the Flyers’ playoff ticket and dream just a little bit longer each night of where this season could end up and where this group of players might possibly take the team in the years to come.