By Kevin Fortier (Twitter @ksfortier)
The Flyers returned home from their overseas trip to host the New Jersey Devils Wednesday night. The night began with opening ceremonies to introduce the team and new coaching staff to the fans. It was also Wayne Simmonds’ first game against his former team.
The game started slow, but the Flyers took over in the second period and went on to win 4-0. Carter Hart got the first shutout of his professional career—and at 21 years and 57 days old, he became the youngest netminder to earn a shutout in Flyers history.
The first period got off to a choppy start as the teams tried to get their legs under them and feel each other out. The Flyers went on the power play about halfway through the period when Miles Wood went after Tyler Pitlick for bumping Cory Schneider. They were unable to get much going, though, and did not come close to scoring.
The Flyers controlled most of the play through the first half of the period, but the Devils seemed to take control in the last several minutes. Much of the remaining first-period play was in the Flyers’ end of the ice.
With about a minute left, Nikita Gusev charged up the right boards and fired a pass across the ice to a streaking Taylor Hall, who deflected the puck on net for the best scoring chance of the period. Hart made the save, though, and the period ended with no scoring.
The second period got off to a faster start, with both teams managing the puck better and getting up and down the ice. Less than two minutes into the period, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny broke up ice, and although Schneider ended up out of position, Coots was unable to get a shot off or pass to Konecny as he was stymied by Andy Green.
Claude Giroux broke in on Schneider about six minutes into the period, going forehand to backhand and beating him, but the puck hit off the post and stayed out. Later on the same shift, Giroux got the puck point-blank in the slot with a yawning short side opening, but he fired wide.
The Flyers got their second power play at the eight-minute mark of the period and immediately looked sharper. They kept the puck in the Devils’ end for the first 1:15 of the penalty, firing shot after shot. They finally converted on a blast by Ivan Provorov with less than 10 seconds left on the power play. Matt Niskanen and Konecny picked up the assists.
The Devils got their first power play when Kevin Hayes tripped up PK Subban. The Devils were unable to get anything going, but with 13 seconds left on the penalty, Michael Raffl tripped Jack Hughes and gave Jersey a two-man advantage. However, they failed to convert or even get a shot on goal during the power plays.
The Flyers nearly made it 2-0 when Couturier redirected a shot by Justin Braun, but Schneider made the save.
With a little over two minutes left in the period, Couturier fired the puck over the boards and was called for delay of game. On the ensuing faceoff, Hayes played the puck with his hand, giving the Devils a full two minutes of five-on-three play.
The Devils’ power play got going right away with Jack Hughes firing a pass over to Hall, who blasted a one-timer that Hart stopped with a miraculous glove save. The Devils had a couple more chances, but they again failed to score.
The period ended with the Flyers up 1-0.
The Devils took a penalty 20 seconds into the period, giving the Flyers another power play. Hayes scored his first goal as a Flyer, getting off a quick shot after Giroux won a faceoff to the left of Schneider.
Couturier made it 3-0 just 24 seconds later when he put home a rebound off a Provorov shot. Later in the period, Kyle Palmieri fell coming out from behind the Devils net. Konecny got the puck and slid it through Schneider’s five-hole to make it 4-0 Flyers.
The Devils went back on the power play after Shayne Gostisbehere was called for a slash at 16:35, but they were unable to get much of anything going on the man advantage.
The final score was 4-0 Flyers.
PHI: 9:52 Provorov (power play)
Assists: Niskanen, Konecny
PHI: 0:33 Hayes (power play)
PHI: 0:57 Couturier
Assists: Lindblom, Provorov
PHI: 11:46 Konecny (unassisted)
Shots on Goal
PHI: 6-15-13 (34)
NJ: 10-7-8 (25)