Carter Hart is receiving high praise from his teammates, cited as one of the main reasons behind the Philadelphia Flyers’ hot start.
Defensively, the team is better structured in front of him. John Tortorella has his team playing hard more times than not. If they don’t, Tortorella is quick to make an example, dissolving ice time from whoever doesn’t meet his standard.
“I think that’s something we haven’t really had the last few years is an identity. We’re becoming a gritty hockey team to play against. I think for us to be successful, that’s how we have to play; we have to play hard.”Carter Hart; 10/27/2022
Last night, Hart reached a career-high for saves in a game. He stopped 48/51 shots on goal en route to a 4-3 victory versus the Florida Panthers. He’s 5-0-0 to begin the 2022-2023 campaign. The last Flyers goaltender to start a season 5-0-0 was Ron Hextall in 1995-1996.
For Hart, the last two seasons were tough. Suddenly, his start to 2022-2023 is reminiscent of his dominance on home ice in 2019-2020.
Philadelphia needed to shed its old skin. Tortorella stressed how critical it is to play for each other. That is the identity of this team. They’ve fallen behind and stuck to their guns, not panicking.
“I don’t think they’ve panicked. They’ve stayed within the game. Our goaltender has kept us in some games to allow ourselves to get back into it, which is important. As far as the attitude on the bench, I think it’s been a good bench”John Tortorella; 10/26/2022
The team is growing mentally, which is a sign of maturity. Tortorella indicated as much about Hart following his career evening:
“Hopefully, he is maturing. He made some big saves at key times. He’s been steady every start this year, so he gives us a chance.”John Tortorella; 10/27/2022
Without question, mental maturity and preparation went a long way for Hart. He wasn’t satisfied with his overall performances in the last two seasons. In 2020-2021, it was a unique challenge for some young players to overcome nationwide restrictions during a pandemic. Last season, the Flyers experienced Murphy’s Law. Additionally, Hart didn’t see any action during the preseason, entering the home opener cold.
Deserving of the praise from his teammates, Hart found his confidence with a headstrong approach, diving into the standard set by Tortorella and the coaching staff. Kevin Hayes and Ivan Provorov spoke highly of his resurgence:
“Hartsy’s been our backbone the whole year. We’ve got five wins, and he’s the main reason for all of them. He’s been great. I don’t think he was too happy with the last couple [of] years he had, and came in ready. He’s always in shape. I don’t know if he’s done anything differently, but he looks unreal back there. He’s playing great.”Kevin Hayes; 10/27/2022
There isn’t a game this season where Hart didn’t face 30 shots at a minimum. Down a forward and dressing an extra defenseman, Philadelphia was especially opportunistic versus the Panthers. Imposing their physical force, they outlasted Florida, who never let the Flyers meet double-digits in shots during any single period. He didn’t officially earn a three-star honor, but when a team is outshot 51-22 on the winning end, it’s a testament to incredible goaltending.
“He’s been awesome. There’s so many games this year where we were able to win because, at times, we would lose our momentum and the way we’re supposed to play, but he was able to shut the door. To be able to start our season 5-0-0, it’s huge for him and huge for the team.”Ivan Provorov; 10/27/2022
Stellar goaltending is the backbone of any good team. Analytics show that has to be a cornerstone of the 2022-2023 Flyers. Hart, Jake Oettinger, and Linus Ullmark are leading the way in league goaltending. Now, Philadelphia must find a way to make this more sustainable while Hart is on fire.
(Photo Credit/Alex McIntyre)