DETROIT (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers are desperately trying to play their way back into the NHL playoff race. Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings are slowly playing their way out of postseason contention.
Scott Laughton snapped a scoreless tie midway through the third period and the Flyers defeated the Red Wings 2-1.
Detroit forward Lucas Raymond scored his 15th of the season with 41.6 seconds left in regulation to spoil Hart’s shutout bid.
“It was a close-checking game without a lot of chances, so I liked the way we kept our patience until we got a couple,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said. “We stayed with it and we waited for opportunities.”
Hart saved his best save for last. With three seconds to play, a loose puck landed on Raymond’s stick on the edge of the Philadelphia goal crease. He snapped a low shot toward the net, but Hart slid his right pad across to kick the puck off the goal line.
“How did that puck not go in?” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “Not only did he get a pad on it, he flexed his pad to keep it out. That was pretty impressive by the Hart kid.”
The win improved Philadelphia to 20–20-7 on the season. With 47 points, the Flyers moved one point ahead of the Red Wings (19-18-8) in the Eastern Conference standings. However, Philadelphia still remains six points out of the playoffs.
“We knew it was 0-0 on the road and we had a chance to get two points,” Laughton said. After the Chicago game (a 4-1 Flyers loss in their previous game), we knew we needed this to get on a roll going into the All-Star game.”
The victory ended Philadelphia’s three-game losing streak against the Red Wings.
Laughton scored first at 9:01 of the third period with his 12th goal of the season. Flyers center Kevin Hayes passed the puck to Laughton as he was splitting the Detroit defense. Breaking into the clear, Laughton lifted a backhand shot over the glove of Red Wings goalie Ville Husso.
Cates added the second Flyers goal at 13:23 of the final period, converting Travis Konecny’s pass for his sixth of the season.
“It just felt like one of those tight games where it was gonna be first play, first mistake,” Lalonde said. “Unfortunately, they were the first team to make a play in the third and we were the first team to make a slight mistake.”
The Red Wings won all three meetings with the Flyers last season.
They’d also won two in a row from Philadelphia on home ice. In the all-time history of the two franchises, the Red Wings have never won four consecutive regular-season games over the Flyers.
Philadelphia’s last win over the Red Wings was a 3-0 shutout victory on Feb. 3, 2020, at Detroit. Laughton also scored the game winner in that victory.
The relentless Flyers blocked 31 Detroit shots. Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov blocked eight. After taking a shot from Detroit forward Michael Rasmussen in the ankle in the second period during a Red Wings power play, Provorov was unable to get to his feet. Defense partner Rasmus Ristolainen pushed Provorov to the Philadelphia bench while the Flyers ragged the puck.
“We talked before the game about getting back a bit harder and blocking some more shots,” Hart said. “We did that tonight and there were a lot of big ones. That’s a huge part of why we got the win today.”
Detroit went 0-for-2 on the power play. Philadelphia was 0-for-1 with the man advantage.
Husso made 23 saves.
The Red Wings were without left-winger Tyler Bertuzzi. He’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Flyers: Philadelphia returns home to face the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.
Red Wings: Complete a quick two-game homestand playing host to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
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The Associated Press