“Never meet your heroes.” That is the advice offered to people who look up to someone to protect themselves from being disappointed. What if your idol is standing between you and the Stanley Cup? As the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals begin, Carter Hart faces that exact scenario as the Philadelphia Flyers take on the Montreal Canadiens. Carey Price is the goaltender that Hart idolized.
“Definitely really cool. He was my favorite goalie growing up. Just had the chance to meet him the other week and talk with him for the first time. That was something pretty cool. For your first playoff series, playing against Carey Price will definitely be a lot of fun. I look forward to it. He’s obviously a really good goalie and they got some really good players on their team. We’ll just prepare and be ready.”Carter Hart
In an exhibition game, Carter Hart allowed one goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He only played two periods of that game before Brian Elliott received playing time. The Philadelphia Flyers won that game in overtime when Scott Laughton buried the game-winner, which provided Elliott with the winning decision. That was only one game against the Penguins. Carey Price helped spoil Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes in the play-in round in four games, 3-1, utilizing a trait that inspired Hart as a child.
“I think just how smooth he was. When he first entered the league was when I first started to play the position of goalie. As a young goalie growing up, he’s been the guy I’ve really looked up to the most as a goaltender. I think just how well he skates, how well his positioning is and how calm he is in the net, efficient. Also a great puck handler. He’s arguably been the best goaltender in the NHL for the past few seasons for sure.”Carter Hart
Two twelfth seed teams advanced in the play-in round (see Chicago Blackhawks versus Edmonton Oilers.) Carey Price found a particular groove against the Pittsburgh Penguins, not allowing a goal in the final hour and a half of the series. Performances like that are why Carter Hart idolizes Price.
This round will be the first best-of-seven series for either team in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. Carter Hart has been in a groove of his own against the entire NHL. Since his abdominal strain injury during the 2019-2020 regular season, he is 11-2-0 with a 93.9% save percentage. When comparing the two goaltenders in this series, it is worth noting just how similar they are. They both have the proverbial “ice in their veins.”
The very first time Carter Hart played opposite of Carey Price, Hart got pulled from the game. In his second game against Price, the Montreal Canadiens were victorious, 2-1. Hart’s first victory over Price was in the Philadelphia Flyers only meeting against the Montreal Canadiens in the 2019-2020 regular season. That game required overtime. Sean Couturier scored the game-winner to secure Hart’s first victory against his hockey hero.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre