Sure, he gave up an incredibly foolish goal when he tried to do too much behind the net, and his pass was intercepted by Sidney Crosby‘s stick for a hilarious goal, but other than that, the third-year netminder was off to a fantastic start – blocking 62 of his 66 shots for a saves percentage of 93.9 percent while maintaining a perfect Quality Start Percentage.
But in the NHL – especially in 2020-21, where games are fewer and closer between – everything can’t stay perfect forever. For every front-running win against an intrastate rival packed to the gills with pad saves, stick saves, and even glove saves, even the best teams/goalies will have games like the Flyers’ third contest of the season facing off against their new East Division foes, the Buffalo Sabres.
In a game that only saw 28:09 of Hart action – which, if you know hockey is a major red flag – the 22-year-old gave up four goals on 18 shots and was pulled halfway through the second period by Alain Vigneault for Brian Elliott – who still gave up two goals but was ultimately able to finish out regulation without too much damage to the emotional wellbeing of Philly fans the world over.
Was it a horrible showing from an otherwise promising young player? Most definitely, once he got called for that bogus tripping call, it was pretty much over, but honestly, I wouldn’t look too much further into it: Carter Hart is going to be just fine.
Don’t have a change of ‘Hart’ on the Philadelphia Flyers’ goalie (I’m sorry).
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As tough as it is to admit, especially if you’re a proud owner of an orange and black Philadelphia Flyers jersey, Carter Hart has games like this from time to time.
Sure, when he’s on, he’s inarguably one of the best goaltenders in the game today. He’s got good vision, quick instincts, and an otherworldly ability to snatch a would-be goal out of the midsts of despair, all the while keeping the Flyers in seemingly any game he’s active for.
But then, roughly 23.3 percent of the time (18/77), he’ll give up four or more goals, and often times get benched as a result.
This is *spoiler alert* totally normal.
Hart was already scheduled to have Game 2 of the Flyers-Sabres back-to-back series off for scheduled rest after starting three games in five nights. While I imagine Vigneault and company would have preferred to have Hart go out on his third-straight Quality Start, it’s not the end of the world to see him pulled early. If anything, it just gives Hart some extra time to get his mind and body right and center himself for a Thursday night Beantown showdown versus the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden.
I don’t care if you are the one-for-one reincarnation of Martin Brodeur; sometimes, you just have a bad game. It happens. With a few days off to get his situation in order, Carter Hart should be back to his “vintage form” – aka four days ago – in no time and continue to provide the Philadelphia Flyers with the stability they’ve desperately craved in net for a very, very long time.