Happy belated birthday, Carter Hart: reflecting on his best moments

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Only days after his first career playoff win, goaltending phenom Carter Hart has officially turned 22. So far for his career, Hart has a stellar 40-26-4 record with a 2.59 goals against average and .915 save percentage. After a rookie season consisting of a 2.83 GAA and .917 save percentage, Hart managed an even more stellar Sophomore season. During the 2019-2020 campaign, Hart finished the regular season with a 2.42 GAA and .914 save percentage.

Just turning 22 years of age yesterday, Hart has set a number of both Flyers and NHL records. He became the first goalie in Flyers’ history to win four straight starts before turning 21 during a streak of eight consecutive victories from Jan. 14-Feb. 9, 2019. With those eight wins, he matched Jocelyn Thibault’s rookie record with eight straight victories before the age of 21, a record established back in 1995. At one point, Hart was also 8-0 in games he needed to record at least 37 saves.

To honor the future of the Flyers’ franchise, here are his top five moments in his ever-so young career thus far. This list will consist of events, and not saves, as his countless “save of the year” candidates would be an endless list.

Hart's spectacular diving save | NHL.com
Hart makes a diving save against the Canucks. Photo courtesy of https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nhl.com%2Fflyers%2Fvideo%2Fharts-spectacular-diving-save%2Fc-65559903&psig=AOvVaw3C_6t3oIyL1sBcEnEM6IFA&ust=1597453471894000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAMQjB1qFwoTCJjx84jAmesCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAP

#5- First NHL Win: December 19, 2018

Almost two years ago now, the Flyers’ backup goaltender Anthony Stolarz went down due to injury. This being said, Hart was finally given his chance to crack the big leagues– and has never looked back.

On December 19, 2018, Hart was called to action to make 20 saves in his first career win. With his mom, dad, and former coach in attendance along with 20,000+ fans anticipating his arrival.

His debut went well, as he recorded a 3–2 win over the Detroit Red Wings and was named first star of the game. He became the youngest goaltender since Carey Price to win in his NHL debut and the youngest ever in Flyers history.

#4- Hart wins Rookie of the Month: January 2019

In his first full month as an NHL goalie, Hart put the league on notice. After living up to the hype of the Flyers’ fanbase, the then 20-year-old had a month of January to remember. During that month, the goaltender went 6-2-1 with a .931 save percentage and 2.33 GAA.

#3- Career High Saves performance: March 17, 2019

In only his second career start against the Penguins, Hart showed Pittsburgh what they’ll have to deal with for years to come. In what could have been the luck of the Irish, the youngster brought the show on St. Patrick’s day. The netminder recorded a career high 41 saves en route to the 2-1 overtime victory.

#2- First NHL Shutout: October 9, 2019

It didn’t take long for Hart to make even more of an impact in only his second season. Nearly a year after his debut against the Devils, Hart would go on to record his first, and only, career shutout against them as well. He would make 25 saves in the 4-0 win, propelling the Flyers to 2-0 on the young season.

#1- First playoff win: August 12, 2020

We all expected Carter Hart to record his first playoff win in August after a pandemic, right?

Whether you want to consider the round robin win against the Bruins his first playoff win or this week’s victory over the Canadiens, Hart had his first win regardless. As my friend Liam Jenkins wrote highlighting how Hart made history against his childhood idol, “Hart saved 27 of 28 shots in a game that saw Montreal slowly ramp up the intensity before coming out swinging in a vital third period. Hart was cool, calm, & collected from start to finish.”

This moment earned number one solely because it not only shows how mentally sound this kid is, but it also proves that he’s the real deal. This is what we’ve been waiting for, Flyers fans.

Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports