Finding the right goaltender to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a Stanley Cup title has been a daunting challenge since they last celebrated in 1975.
Carter Hart looks like he could be the answer.
While the Flyers still remain a work in progress, Hart has continued to develop. Hart stopped 34 shots and denied two of three attempts in the shootout to lift Philadelphia to a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Hart denied Leon Draisaitl in the third round to secure the win.
“He’s been like that all year,” Kevin Hayes said of Hart. “He’s been the backbone of this team. He’s an unbelievable goalie. We see it in practice every day. He just allows us to know that if there is a breakdown, we’re not nervous or anything because we know he’s back there.”
The Flyers will look to continue their winning ways when they host the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon.
Philadelphia did not commit a penalty, and that went a long way in helping it subdue the high-flying Oilers. Penalties have been an issue all season for the Flyers.
“It was something we discussed this morning and then before the game,” defenseman Travis Sanheim said. “They’re the No. 1 power play in the league and that first unit seems to score a lot of goals; you can’t give them any looks.”
Despite the big victory, outspoken head coach John Tortorella was critical of defenseman Tony DeAngelo.
“We want to try to help him,” Tortorella said. “We feel he needs to get better defensively — without taking away any of the great offensive ability he has.”
The Predators had won three in a row before dropping a 5-1 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.
Matt Duchene opened the scoring and Juuse Saros made 25 saves for Nashville, which was limited to a season-low 17 shots on goal.
“We didn’t get enough shots through,” Duchene said. “We took a lot of shots and they didn’t get through. … I thought our decisions were better in the second and third period, but you’ve got to get pucks through at the end of the day or keep possession until you can break them down. They did a great job of crowding the house and blocking shots.”
Captain Roman Josi notched an assist to extend his point streak to six games (six assists).
Josi, however, pointed the finger at himself for a pair of defensive miscues.
“I pretty much gave them two easy goals in the first,” Josi said. “The first one, the puck bounced, it’s going to happen sometimes. I think I have to do a better job of recovering. The second one, I kind of stepped up and didn’t get the puck. … I feel like we actually started well, and then gave them those two easy goals, which is on me.”
The Predators had been playing at a high level heading into the All-Star break. Now they have to get back in sync on the road against the Flyers.
“We weren’t good in a lot of facets and there’s no excuses for it,” Predators head coach John Hynes said. “The other team had a break too and (Tuesday) it wasn’t good.”
–Field Level Media