Carter Hart has been through a lot already in his NHL career. Making his debut at just 20-years-old, Hart has seen the highs of highs & lows of lows in his first two seasons.
Whether it was winning 8-straight or losing 5-straight, Hart has stayed humble. A humble nature that allows Hart to deal with praise & stress with ease. Some would say in the same way.
Hart’s mental fortitude may be one of his best, if not his best, attributes. At such a young age, Hart’s ability to refocus & keep a short-term memory is something the Flyers saw in Hart from the beginning. Something the Flyers will now rely on heavily.
With the Flyers down 3-1 to the New York Islanders in their 2nd round series, they now turn to their 22-year-old net-minder to lead them to the Eastern Conference Finals. A trail that starts in Game5 on Tuesday.
Now, the reason the Flyers are down 3-1 in the series is not Hart’s fault. Far from it. If it wasn’t for Hart in Game2, the Flyers would be not playing a Game5 on Tuesday.
With the Islanders pressing, Hart’s timely saves, 10 saves on 11 shots, in the final 7:14 of Game2 saved the Flyers season. A season that could linger on another turnover or mistake leading to another Islanders goal.
Hart has only gotten 5-goals of support in 3-games. The Islanders have scored 5-goals off turnovers caused by the Flyers failing to clear their own zone. Turnovers that the Flyers did not have a problem with during the season.
Head coach Alain Vigneault preached simple is better at the start of the playoffs. A simple nature that the Flyers seemed to have no problem with against the Montreal Canadiens in the 1st round. But, for unknown reasons, that simple nature seems to have changed against the Islanders.
Time & time again vs the Islanders, the Flyers have chosen to try & make the more riskier play than the smart & simple play. Something that the Flyers leaders need to fix.
The Flyers need more from their leaders to have any chance of winning the next 3-games. Something Alain Vigneault made very clear in his press conference Monday…
“This is a great opportunity for our leadership group to change the narrative, change their legacy.” – Alain Vigneault
With the Flyers having their backs against a wall, Vigneault is making one last ditch effort to spark his leadership group. A group that has combined for only 5G in the Flyers 10-playoff games so far.
If it wasn’t for Carter Hart, the Flyers may not have even been in the position they are now. Now, the Flyers will rely on Hart once again to take them to the next level. A level that must start in Game5.
Photo by Mark Blinch via Getty Images