Sean Couturier, Carter Hart shine in shootout as Flyers edge Devils

Flyers 4 Devils 3 (SO)

NEWARK, N.J. —Three nights after their most embarrassing loss of the young season, the Flyers faced a reeling New Jersey team that had just two wins in its first 10 games.

New Jersey didn’t make things easy, but the Flyers rebounded as they used a late rally to beat the Devils in a shootout, 4-3 at the Prudential Center.

Sean Couturier’s one-handed goal in the shootout and Carter Hart’s flawless goaltending in the glorified breakaway contest lifted the Flyers to the win.

Taylor Hall went around Justin Braun, came in ahead of the pack, and scored midway through the third period to give the Devils a 3-2 lead. Hall had been booed during the game because he had criticized Devils fans for booing the home team in Wednesday’s 7-6 overtime loss to visiting Tampa Bay.

They cheered him when he scored Friday.

Joel Farabee’s first NHL goal knotted the score at 3 with 8:27 left in regulation, and the 19-year-old Flyers winger jumped into the sideboards to celebrate. Farabee crashed the net and scored on a long rebound of Michael Raffl’s shot.

Farabee scored on his own rebound with 3:01 left in OT, but he kicked it into the net, and it was erased after a review. Mackenzie Blackwood robbed Claude Giroux just before the OT buzzer sounded, so the teams went to a shootout.

Hart, the 21-year-old goaltender who struggled in his previous three starts, stopped 23 of 26 shots in regulation for the Flyers, who were trounced Tuesday in Pittsburgh, 7-1. Hart notched his first win since Oct. 9, a 4-0 shutout over the same Devils

Couturier’s third goal of the season gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead with 12:34 remaining in the second. From near the top of the right circle, Couturier’s drive went off Blackwood and caromed off defense Matt Tennyson and into the net.

The Devils protested that Travis Konecny has interfered with Blackwood, but to no avail.

New Jersey responded, however, and tied the score at 2-2 on Sami Vatanen’s power-play goal with 5:32 to go in the second. Vatanen took a slick feed from Nico Hischier and beat Hart with a wrist shot from the high slot, putting a high drive into the left corner.

The Flyers entered the night with 16 straight successful penalty kills over their last four-plus games, but they New Jersey’s power play was 2 for 3 through two periods Friday.

Hart has been on a roller-coaster ride in the season’s first month.

Up: He had a 2-0-1 record and a 1.62 goals-against in his first three starts.

Down: He went 0-3 with a 5.85 in his next three starts.

Hart made just his second start in the last six games Friday.

“I just have to go in with a fresh mindset,” Hart said after Thursday’s practice. “Focus on one thing, really, and that’s stopping the puck. I don’t want to overthink things.”

But the Devils, who dropped a 4-0 decision to Hart and the Flyers on Oct. 9, struck first. Former Flyer Wayne Simmonds made a nice move out front and deposited a power-play goal —his first score in 11 games with New Jersey —to give the Devils a 1-0 lead with 13:36 left in the first.

The Flyers then began winning puck battles and gradually started taking control of the opening period.

A little over four minutes after Simmonds’ goal, Oskar Lindblom scored the equalizer from in close. Taking a pass from Couturier, he beat Blackwood to the short side to knot the score at 1-all. It was Lindblom’s seventh goal, tops on the team and his 11th tally in the last 17 games dating back to last season.

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