Carter Hart did receive the start against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the exhibition game on July 28th, but today’s game has a different feel. When the puck drops against the Boston Bruins, Hart will begin his first minutes of legitimate playoff hockey. The Philadelphia Flyers may not be facing elimination, but the pressure will be on to improve their playoff seeding. This might be a welcomed entry into postseason hockey for Hart. When the elimination series begins, Hart will warm up to his unique surroundings.
Robert Hagg, on the other hand, does have playoff time on his hockey resume. During the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs, Hagg played in two games. He finished with a plus-one on the stat sheet, but Hagg’s game has since improved drastically. He will be paired with Justin Braun on the third line in today’s game. His playoff experience, combined with his quality of play in 2019-2020, could help out Carter Hart tremendously.
“You know what, Bobby plays a hard game. Brings a lot of grit. Plays the game the right way. He loves to block shots. I don’t know if he loves to block them, but he does it. As a goalie, you got to love that and appreciate that.“Carter Hart; 8/1/2020
What is different for Robert Hagg is that in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs, he did not have a guaranteed starting spot. He was the depth defenseman that Shayne Gostisbehere is in 2020. Carter Hart described his game as “the right way,” which means he loves to be physical and block shots. Hagg has stuck to his game and it has paid dividends. His preparation has not changed much because he knows, especially in 2020, nothing is guaranteed.
“The coaching staff has been saying that everybody has a short leash and you have to perform to be able to play. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s going to be fun.“Robert Hagg; 8/1/2020
Those sentiments have been echoed by Carter Hart. His preparation does not change just because this will be his first postseason game. That much was clear by the performance from the Philadelphia Flyers in exhibition play. Each game has importance, especially beginning today. It is natural that how a team prepares for a game dictates how they will perform.
“The preparation stays the same for all of us. We always prepare the same no matter what for each game. Obviously, we do a little bit different in pre-scouting for what team we’re playing, but preparation stays the same.“Carter Hart; 8/1/2020
Intensity and motivation are keys to the Philadelphia Flyers beginning the game hot. In speaking with Mike Yeo, he expects the players to keep the intensity and momentum from their exhibition victory. The Flyers are a highly motivated team this postseason, but hockey is about balance. Today is the first meaningful hockey game in five months. This locker room is more than excited to play an intense game against the Boston Bruins.
“I’m sure the emotions will be high, being our first game. We’re playing for something. We’re playing to improve our seeding. It’ll be nice to just get out there and play an intense hockey game.“Carter Hart; 8/1/2020
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