PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For a brief moment Tuesday night, Joel Farabee thought it happened again. Another goal called off because of offsides, another case of bad luck and bad timing.
“I looked at the iPad on the bench real quick and I thought maybe it would have been,” Farabee said. “I was hoping they would drop the puck. I was kind of shaking a little bit. Thought maybe it was off.”
It wasn’t, and on Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the kids came to play.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) November 6, 2019
Farabee scored his second career goal while the Flyers rode strong goaltending from Carter Hart and another goal from Travis Konecny to a 4-1 win over the Hurricanes in a game they didn’t deserve to win.
The Flyers were outplayed in the first 40 minutes by a relentless Hurricanes team, but Hart withheld the storm. Hart turned away 22 of 23 shots after two periods and then another 11 in the third.
This was a game the Flyers do not win without their 21-year-old goalie, who’s been fighting it in Year 2. Hart made 33 saves on Tuesday night and had just one blemish — which he had little chance on.
After a four-game stretch where Hart allowed 13 goals on 52 shots, he’s turned away 56 of his last 60 shots. He was solid but not great Friday night in New Jersey, but Tuesday, he looked much more like himself.
“Any time a player takes accountability about his performances and goes about finding ways to fix his performance, as a teammate and a coach you have to have confidence,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said.
“He knew he could be a lot better. He went out and had a plan with (goalie coach) Kim (Dillabaugh) as far as what he needed to do to get his game back on track and there is no doubt his game is back on track.”
While Hart was front and center after the Flyers’ win Tuesday, Farabee was right behind him.
The 19-year-old’s goal was the product of what the Flyers like about him most, his 200-foot game.
Farabee displayed his hockey smarts and work ethic after the Flyers’ top line lost an offensive zone draw and found themselves pinned in their own end.
Sebastian Aho spotted Warren Foegele creeping into Hart’s backdoor and attempted to thread a pass, which would have been difficult for Hart to stop. But Farabee used his stick to bat the puck into the corner.
Farabee then retrieved the puck and chipped it out of the zone for Claude Giroux. That led to an ugly zone entry that was nearly offside and Farabee dunking in his own rebound for a 3-1 lead that separated play.
“When you get an O-zone draw, you’re not going to make something happen every time,” Farabee said. “I think just being willing to go to head back and play hard defense and hopefully, that will lead to offense.”
Vigneault didn’t mince any words about Farabee, who now has two goals and three points in eight games.
“I’d have to say as far as poise and being able to win puck battles and make the right play on the wall, he’s probably one of our better players on our team right now,” Vigneault said.
“I have a lot of trust and faith in what he’s doing on the ice. He’s only going to get better. He’s a great young man who wants to work.”
It’s been an odd start to Farabee’s NHL career. He saw a goal and an assist negated because of offsides calls in Chicago. He’s creating chance after chance, and before Tuesday, he had just one goal to show for it.
The lack of hardcore results — i.e. point production — created a potential cog in the Farabee discussion.
Was he doing enough to justify burning a year of his entry-level contract?
The eyes said yes, even most of the numbers suggested as much. But the goals and the points weren’t there.
That had also been the case in the preseason when Farabee generated scoring chance after scoring chance but hadn’t converted them into goals. Finishing in the AHL and finishing in the NHL are two different things.
It would have been curious to see what general manager Chuck Fletcher would have done after Farabee’s ninth game, which will come Thursday against Montreal, had he not scored against Carolina.
If Farabee sticks with the Flyers after Thursday, his entry-level contract will officially begin.
Rookies ages 18 and 19 have nine games before their teams can decide whether to keep them in the NHL or send them down. By sending Farabee down after Thursday, his contract would not kick in until next year.
But, that appears to be far-fetched.
Farabee has proven capable of playing at the NHL level. He now has goals in two of his last three games, and he’s been the subject of high praise from a head coach with a Jack Adams Award on résumé.
“Just being around here and being up every day and whether it’s practice, just building chemistry with the guys, I think really helps,” Farabee said. “Each time I’m out there, I am feeling more comfortable.”
By all accounts, Farabee is here to stay and with each day, his comfort level is growing.
The goals are too.