It’s been one rough start after another for Carter Hart as of late. All of the Philadelphia Flyers fans were hoping that he would be able to break that cycle and regain the composure of a starting goaltender. That was not the case on this night. The Flyers did jump out to an early lead, but the New York Islanders answered quickly and didn’t look back. Before the end of the game, Hart was pulled from the ice and Brian Elliott was reintroduced.
There was a brief moment when Philadelphia Flyers fans were able to rejoice. That was when Jakub Voracek was able to score the first goal of the game against Semyon Varlamov. Travis Sanheim put a shot on net that was tipped home by Voracek for the early lead just over a minute into the first period. The New York Islanders would answer back with a stream of goals from Anders Lee, Derick Brassard, and Ross Johnston. Playing to keep themselves in the game, Travis Konecny was able to extend his point streak after deflecting a shot from Justin Braun for a goal.
Up by one in the second period, the New York Islanders knew that they couldn’t become comfortable. Ryan Pulock scored what would be the eventual game-winning goal followed by a goal from Matthew Barzal less than a minute and a half later. It was at this moment that Carter Hart would be pulled from the game, allowing five goals on fourteen shots. This start was Hart’s worst start yet after his last two were dreadful. In came Brian Elliott, who didn’t get the full game rest that Alain Vigneault intended.
Brian Elliott once again played lights out throughout the time he was replaced in the second period and in the third period. No goals surrendered as he limited the damage to the five goals that the New York Islanders scored previously. Earlier this week, the Philadelphia Flyers were down to the Columbus Blue Jackets and made an improbable comeback on a five-goal flurry. Claude Giroux was able to score from the slot in the third period from a quick look off the stick of James van Riemsdyk. Seymon Varlamov was able to hold off a six-on-five barrage to extend the Islanders winning streak to seven games, winning 5-3.
A Broken Hart
First and foremost, Carter Hart is a twenty-one-year-old goaltender. There is a very short-list of elite goaltenders that made an immediate impact in the NHL at his age. One is Patrick Roy, who was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I believe Hart will rebound, but at this moment, I would be wrong if I didn’t say that I wouldn’t roll with Brian Elliott as my starting goaltender. I believe in this league that you have to stay with the hot hand and Elliott has been a magnificent netminder this NHL season.
Most goaltenders don’t bloom until they reach the age of twenty-four. Carter Hart has time, my fellow Philadelphia Flyers faithful. There isn’t any reason to panic.
“Be A _______ Flyer!”
This was a sentiment echoed by Alain Vigneault before the regular season kicked off. This means that you have to play with grit and resiliency. The character of this team is undoubtedly better than last year under the Dave Hakstol regime, but that quote means something to me that is still lacking. On defense, the team needs to be more physical. Being a two-way defender is a neat thing, but the value that comes first is being a worthy defender at home base.
Robert Hagg is the Philadelphia Flyers defender that has blocked the most shots and piled the most hits this season. He has blown some coverage on defense, but he isn’t the only one. Matt Niskanen had the healthiest +/- coming into this game tonight against the New York Islanders. That is good to see because it reflects how a team’s defense is playing while he is on his shift. Opponents need to feel the presence of the Flyers on the ice with bone-crunching force.
Konecny Is A Constant
During this game, I had the pleasure of being on Pod Street Bullies with fellow Philly Sports Network writers Derrik Bobb and John Gove. I expressed that writing about Travis Konecny all the time is exhausting, but I meant that in an endearing way. He has been in on just about every game this season, walking away with a point when the game is over. He is my silver-lining when I talk about the Philadelphia Flyers in a loss this season because when he is on the ice, he proves that he is just as dangerous as anyone. Tonight, the puck didn’t bounce the Flyers way as much, but Konecny is still keeping his high motor.
Next, the Philadelphia Flyers are at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania against the Pittsburgh Penguins. This game takes place on Tuesday, October 29th at 7:00 pm. Thank you for reading and be sure to give a follow for more Flyers coverage at EricReesePSN on Twitter and on Instagram!
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports