PHILADELPHIA — No, the Flyers did not get their first comeback win, but it certainly was not for lack of trying.
Down 2-0 to the New Jersey Devils in the first period and facing a five-minute major to Garnet Hathaway, the Orange and Black battled back to tie things up at three, before losing, 4-3 in overtime. Luke Hughes needed less than 30 seconds of the extra frame to beat Carter Hart with a wrist shot and win the game for the Devils.
Facing a team that has struggled to meet their own expectations, the Flyers outworked their tri-state neighbors after killing off Hathaway’s major — an event that seemed to spark the team. Morgan Frost scored in the second period, and Sean Walker and Tyson Foerster both scored late in the third to force overtime.
Momentum started to shift for the Flyers in the second period. According to Natural Stat Trick, at five-on-five the Flyers were generating more shot attempts than the Devils, with a Corsi for percentage of 64.1% in the second period. That’s not a bad stat, considering just 10 Flyers forwards hit the ice.
Along with Hathaway’s ejection, Joel Farabee played just 56 seconds — all in the first period. Farabee was on the ice for the first goal by the Devils, a shot from the high slot by Alexander Holtz that beat Hart glove side. Farabee wasn’t able to keep the puck in along the boards, and the Devils broke out three-on-two before Michael McLeod found the trailing Holtz.
Despite being down two guys, the Flyers played a strong middle frame and got within one. Tyler Toffoli, who set up Jack Hughes to make it 2-0 in the first, scored what looked like an insurance goal in the third, but then Hart stood on his head.
The Flyers goalie made 31 saves, but none more spectacular than a diving blocker save on a Holtz rebound attempt. With the Flyers shorthanded, and in a one-goal game, the Alberta native stopped a quick shot by Toffoli alone in front, before diving to his right and robbing Holtz of a sure thing.
Following the Save of the Game — and a Save of the Year contender for sure — Sean Walker cut it to 3-2 on a point shot with five minutes to go in regulation.
©2023 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit inquirer.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.