Carter Hart may only be 21-years-old, but he earned his most important win to date with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Hart and the Flyers shrugged off a disappointing road trip with a statement 3-2 home victory on Wednesday night over the Washington Capitals. It was the Flyers’ first victory over the Capitals since March 2018, ending a five-game losing streak to the current Eastern Conference leaders.
Hart may have started off sluggish at the Wells Fargo Center, allowing two goals on seven shots, but he rebounded with 21 consecutive saves to earn his 14th win of the season.
“It’s not a surprise because he is a good goalkeeper,” Flyers defenseman Robert Hagg told Philly Influencer. “He has come up with some big wins for us this season and we needed him to come up big tonight as well. Even though he may not have started the game how he would’ve wanted, he finished on a strong note.”
The Flyers went into the first intermission deadlocked with the Capitals 2-2. Travis Konecny and Robert Hagg each scored in the opening 20 minutes, but it looked like a usual theme with the Flyers failing to hold a lead for long.
Kevin Hayes’ shorthanded goal in the second period ended up being the game-winner, but Hart also played his part with numerous key saves. He made four saves on captain Alex Ovechkin, three on Nicklas Backstrom, and three on gritty winger Tom Wilson. Most important, he made five saves against the 10th-ranked power play in the NHL and came up clutch to help the Flyers to a massive two points at home.
“Yeah, it’s a huge win,” Hart said. “Obviously, the road trip didn’t go the way that we wanted it to, but we bounced back tonight against a top team in the NHL right now. I think that this is a huge game for us. It’s a good game for us to head back in the right direction.”
“We scored first so that was huge. Obviously, they get one back and it’s kind of back and forth. To get that PK goal that Hayesy scored in the second period, you can see the looks on their faces. It kind of really deflated them. We came out hard in the third period. Special teams is a huge part of the game. They got one of the top power plays in the league, so for us to limit them to really nothing, it was huge for us.”
Hart has split time this season with 34-year-old veteran Brian Elliott, with Elliott seeing more of the recent road trip. Wednesday’s win was Hart’s first since Dec. 23rd, a 5-0 beatdown of the rival New York Rangers on home ice. It was also his first start since that night, in which he allowed two goals or less, a stat he will now look to take into Saturday’s showdown with the high-flying Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Carter would like to have both of those goals back,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said. “That first one goes through him, the second one the rebound he should have probably had but he battled hard after. A lot of times it’s not how many saves but when, and in the second and the third he came up big and at big moments. For us this was an important win.”