PHILADELPHIA — Carter Hart made 41 saves, Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek scored, and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 on Monday night for their eighth straight victory.
The Flyers pulled within five points of a playoff spot after having the NHL’s worst record on Jan. 9 — they were 14 points out of a post-season berth during the All-Star break just over a week ago. Philadelphia also became the first NHL expansion club to reach 2,000 victories
Hart, Philadelphia’s 20-year-old rookie, won his seventh straight start with another solid game. His best stop came with 5 1/2 minutes left when he dived with his right arm to deny Nikolay Goldobin from a sharp angle on a power play, drawing “CAR-TER! CAR-TER!” chants from the crowd.
Brock Boeser scored for Vancouver, which was playing the first of three games in four nights.
The game was delayed for several minutes midway through the third period after Vancouver’s Alexander Edler went down with a scary-looking injury. Edler’s skate got caught in Voracek’s stick, causing Edler to land face-first on the ice. With a bloodied face and dazed look, a conscious Edler was wheeled off on a stretcher while sitting upright.
Voracek scored on a breakaway 3:20 into the second period to put Philadelphia up 2-0. After Canucks defenceman Christopher Tanev whiffed on a pass at the blue line, Philadelphia’s Phil Varone lifted a pass ahead to perfectly set up Voracek. The Flyers forward deked to his forehand and shot just past the outstretched right pad of Jacob Markstrom with a highlight-reel finish.
Vancouver got on the board 1:54 later after a rare mistake by Hart. Hart came way out of his crease to deny Brandon Sutter of a breakaway, but the goalie’s clearing attempt went off the boards and right to Boeser, who fired into the vacated net for his 18th goal of the season and fourth in the last seven contests.
Couturier gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead with 1:23 left in the first period with a wrist shot from the slot that went just under the glove of Markstrom. The power play tally was the seventh in the last nine opportunities for the Flyers, who scored four goals with the man-advantage in Saturday’s 5-4 overtime win over Edmonton.
NOTES: Vancouver LW Sven Baertschi (illness) didn’t play. … The teams ended the season series tied at 1. The Canucks beat the Flyers 5-1 on Dec. 15 in Vancouver in Dave Hakstol’s last game as Philadelphia coach. Hakstol was replaced by interim coach Scott Gordon. … Philadelphia’s winning streak is its best since registering 10 in a row from Nov. 27-Dec. 14, 2016.
Vancouver: At Washington Tuesday.
Philadelphia: Host Los Angeles Thursday.
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Aaron Bracy, The Associated Press