The next time we see the Philadelphia Flyers in action will be against the Boston Bruins in the first of three Round-Robin matchups this weekend. The exhibition game is behind us and was a valuable experience for players young and old. Among those who benefited most was goaltender Carter Hart.
The 21-year-old could well be one of the Flyers’ most important players when it comes to igniting a deep playoff run. His home record this year was absolutely stunning at 20-3-2. On the road, a less impressive 4-10-1. When you factor in Hart’s success under the brightest lights on neutral ice in the past, it’s easy to see why many had their eyes glued on the goaltender last night.
Only adding fuel to a raging fire was the fact that Hart entered tonight coming off of a training camp where missed some time due to back spasms. Getting him up to speed was vital for Alain Vigneault knowing that there’s no teething period once this game passed.
It’s like riding a bike
After a shaky to start, Carter Hart found his footing and looked comfortable for the most part. AV stuck to his plan of pulling Hart after two periods to give Brian Elliott some minutes, but Hart left a fairly strong resume behind him, having made 11 saves on 12 shots.
“For us, it was nice to get into a game. It’s been a long time for both clubs that had some game action.” Hart said after the game. “I think it was just nice to get things rolling and just feel what it’s like to be in a game. For us, it’s a different environment. Something we’re not used to. No fans. We’re all in this bubble. It’s something that’s different. We’ll adjust. This game was good for us to see what it’s going to be like. I thought we played well tonight.”
Hart was also asked about the quality of the Ice. This was naturally going to be a concern given the sweltering heat, but he didn’t seem phased.
“Towards the end of the period, you could start to see the ice was getting a little soft. The snow was building up pretty quick. That’s something that you can’t control. We’re playing hockey in 30 degree weather outside. Sometimes you are going to have no ideal ice conditions. That’s just the way it is. You’re just have to work through it. Push through it. Just hope that the ice crew does a good job.”
It seems like the dress rehearsal went about as smooth as one could’ve hoped for. Next stop, the big dance.