(Photo credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
The rebuilding Philadelphia Flyers seek their fourth consecutive victory with a home matchup versus the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday afternoon.
After a maddening loss to the then-winless San Jose Sharks, the Flyers concluded their four-game road trip with victories over the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes.
Goaltender Carter Hart returned after a five-game absence due to an illness and an injured back to make 31 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Hurricanes on Wednesday.
"No expectations, just come in and play hockey," Hart said. "I do all the work in preparation, two weeks away. I've got time to focus on some other parts of my game and my body. I used the time away effectively and just prepared for the next puck I had to stop."
Hart stopped all nine shots he faced in the first period and proved that the absence wasn't going to be a factor.
"That's when I thought he was at best, the first period," Philadelphia had coach John Tortorella said of Hart. "He had some great saves. He's played well all year long. To let us get going, I thought that was his best period."
Slow starts have hurt the Flyers at times this season.
This time, Owen Tippett opened the scoring at 1:50 of the first period. The Flyers controlled the tempo virtually the rest of the way.
"You can't sit back at all, otherwise it doesn't end too well," Tippett said. "Right from the start, we had a great game and we kept it going for 60 minutes."
The Golden Knights will look for their second win in a row following a wild 6-5 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
Jack Eichel and captain Mark Stone each connected on the power play 44 seconds apart late in the third period. Eichel and Stone finished with one goal and two assists apiece.
Shea Theodore also was stellar with one goal and three assists.
It was Theodore's second career four-point game and tied the franchise record for most points by a defenseman in a game, which he originally set on Dec. 19, 2017.
"I thought we controlled most of it. Even when we were down, it felt like if we continued to play our structure, we were going to capitalize," Stone said. "And I think we just kind of wore them down there in the end. They were playing four or five defensemen in the third, which led to some of those power plays."
The Golden Knights, who have lost only three times in regulation all season, went 3-for-7 on the power play while successfully killing all three of the Canadiens' chances with the extra skater.
"Special teams were certainly a big difference maker," Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy said. "We've talked about that being more important for us this year. Last year, we got a lot of wins and it wasn't always a strength of ours. And this year, especially the kill lately has been excellent.
"Another short-handed goal to give us some juice. The power play came through at the end, so I'm happy for those guys."
--Field Level Media