PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Farabee had a goal and an assist, Carter Hart made a career-high 48 saves and the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Thursday night.
“He made some big saves at key times; he gives us a chance,” Philadelphia coach John Tortorella said.
Tony DeAngelo, Scott Laughton and Zack MacEwen also scored for the rebuilding Flyers, who are off to a surprising 5-2 start.
“I don’t think we’re going to be a great analytic team,” Tortorella said. “We just have to find a way. It is never going to be perfect because we have so much growing. We’ll keep working at it.”
Gustav Forsling, Josh Mahura and Brandon Montour netted goals for the Panthers.
Florida outshot the Flyers 51-22.
“The story is their goalie,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “We missed some, but when you get that many on the net I don’t think you can critique too much.”
Montour scored with a backhand on a rebound 36 seconds into the third period to pull Florida to 4-3. But the Flyers hung on, thanks largely to Hart.
“(Hart) has been our backbone all year,” teammate Kevin Hayes said. “We have five wins and he’s the main reason for all of them. He’s playing good. We know he always has our back and we try our hardest to have his.”
Philadelphia’s goaltender set his previous high of 47 saves in a 2-1 win over Vegas last March 8.
“Just taking it one shot at a time whether it’s 20 shots or 50 shots,” Hart said.
Philadelphia turned the game with the only two goals of the second period to go in front 4-2.
MacEwen’s deflection of Nick Seeler’s long wrist shot midway through the period made it 3-2, and the Flyers went up two 72 seconds later when Farabee shot high over Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky from close range after Hayes’ pass from behind the net. Hayes just missed on a breakaway chance moments earlier, but he stayed with the puck to get his team-best eighth assist of the season.
Hayes and Travis Konecny were benched by Tortorella, in his first season coaching the Flyers, during the third period of their last game, a 3-0 home loss Sunday to San Jose. Both responded in a big way against Florida. Konecny assisted on both Philadelphia goals in the first period.
“It wasn’t a good effort,” Konecny said of his previous game. “I wanted to do as much as I could to help the team tonight.”
Each team scored two goals in an entertaining first period.
Konecny set up Philadelphai’s first goal with a beautiful backhand pass to DeAngelo, who finished it with a one-timer from the side of the net that tied it 1-all at 6:41. With 4:32 left in the first, Konecny passed to Laughton in front of the crease. Laughton corralled the puck with his skates before shooting under Bobrovsky for a power-play goal that tied it at 2.
Bobrovsky made 18 saves.
Forsling’s shot from the slot 3:41 into the game trickled past Hart to give Florida a 1-0 lead. After DeAngelo tied it, Mahura made it 2-1 by converting on a rebound from a sharp angle.
Panthers: D Aaron Ekblad (groin) missed his fourth game in a row.
Flyers: James van Riemsdyk (broken finger) missed the first game of what is expected to be an absence of at least four weeks after getting injured blocking a shot Sunday. … F Owen Tippett (upper body) returned for the first time since getting hurt Oct. 13 in the season-opening win over the Devils. … D Rasmus Ristolainen (lower body) played for the first time this season.
Panthers: Host Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.
Flyers: Host Carolina on Saturday night.
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